Warrington captures EBU belt; Sluggish Burns mulls move back to 135lbs
Josh Warrington produced an impressive display in front of his adoring home fans in Leeds to stop Italian Davide Dieli and pick up the vacant European featherweight belt.
The 23 year-old pushed his perfect record to 19 wins on Saturday night in taking out the veteran, 35, and became only the second fighter to stop the former EU title holder, both of which came in title bouts.
Referee Manuel Palomo stopped the contest midway through the fourth round after Warrington put Dieli on the floor, leaving the crowd at the First Direct Arena cheering a famous victory for their favourite boxing son.
In the co-feature, ex-two-weight world champion Ricky Burns raised more questions than answers in making his debut at 140lbs as the Scot laboured to an eight round points win over little-known Frenchman Alex Lepelley.
Burns, 31, came in fleshy around the midriff despite making the light-welterweight limit easily at the weigh-in on Friday, and struggled to get going following a good first round in which Lepelley tasted the canvas.
The ‘Rickster’ has never looked the same fighter since running into Ray Beltran at the back end of 2013 after suffering a bad jaw break against the hardened Mexican-American in sharing a draw.
Since then, the ‘Rickster’ had lost two bouts in a row at 135lbs before deciding on a move up, but admitted in the aftermath of his 79-71 points win that he may be forced to return to lightweight in the future.