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Boxing: Trip to Norway 'will provide Burns with top-level sparring'

Ricky Burns, the World Boxing Organisation super-featherweight champion, is to be reunited with an old adversary in the hope that a week spent training in Norway's crisp winter air will turn out to be mutually beneficial for himself and the man in question, Andreas Evensen.

Burns will swop his native Coatbridge for Melhus, near Trondheim, to spar with the Colombian-born boxer who was adopted by a Norwegian couple when only a few months old.

In the pair's previous encounter, in December 2010, Burns prevailed in the first defence of his title on points. Evensen proved much tougher opponent than anticipated; he lasted the distance despite being forced to take a standing count early in the first round of their encounter at the Braehead Arena in Renfrew.

He has since gone on to compile four wins and a draw to frank his credentials as a championship contender and Burns hopes that his trip it will serve a two-fold purpose.

Burns is keen to increase his own sharpness, as well as hoping to assist Evensen in his quest to end the reign of Alexander Miskirichian's as European featherweight champion when he challenges the Georgian in Denmark on February 9.

Burns was left frustrated last month when his Filipino opponent Jose Ocampo was withdrawn just days before their scheduled bout at London's ExCel Arena and he has still to discover when and against whom he will make a third defence of his WBO lightweight title.

There had been speculation that Burns, who rejected the offer of a meaningless international contest as a substitute for a world title bout, would return to the ring, in Glasgow, at the end of this month, but the promoter, Frank Warren, has yet to make an official announcement.

Burns will be accompanied by his trainer, Billy Nelson, Greenock's former British and Commonwealth featherweight champion John Simpson, who will also spar with Evensen, and David Brophy, the Caldercruix middleweight, when he travels to Norway on Sunday.

Nelson said: "I have stayed in regular touch with Evensen's manager, Helge Waeroy, and he offered us an all-expenses paid trip. He has a fantastic set-up and Evensen will provide Ricky with top- level sparring."

Meanwhile, Kris Carslaw believes that landing a first European title could put him in the frame for higher honours. The Paisley boxer travels to France this week to take on Michel Soro for the WBO European crown on Saturday in Le Cannet on the French Riviera.

It will the latest attempt by Carslaw to secure a place among the top fighters in the light-middleweight division following a number of setbacks. He suffered a broken jaw in a British title final eliminator with Matthew Hall late in 2011, and his first bid for a Lonsdale Belt was wrecked when a nasty cut left him rattled just as he was getting the better of Brian Rose in Manchester last June.

Defeat by Larry Ekundayo, the eventual winner, in the semi-finals of the Prizefighter competition two months ago did little to ease concerns that his career had stalled but Carslaw hopes this week's trip to the continent could prove to be his springboard to the big time.

The former British Masters champion said: "If I can get a win in France, hopefully it will open up a few doors for me."

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