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Burns refuses to be distracted by what may lie ahead

Ricky Burns has kept his prominence at bay.

The WBO lightweight champion should be one of Scotland's most high-profile sportsmen, but his inclination is to deny fame an opportunity to take root. Invites have been commonplace since he became a world champion, but the glamour of success does not sit easy with Burns. "I hate people making a fuss," he explains.

He is preparing to defend his WBO title against Jose Ocampo, the 23-year-old Filipino, at London's ExCel Arena on December 15. An additional prize for Burns should he win, as expected, is the prospect of a fight with Adrien Broner, the WBC champion and one of the rising stars of US boxing. Burns is ambitious, but there is a lack of pretension to the 29-year-old. His Commonwealth and WBO super-featherweight and lightweight belts, for instance, do not even enjoy a prominent place in his home in Coatbridge.

"The belts lie in the spare room gathering dust mostly," he said. "I get them out when I need them for the press conferences and stuff like that, but apart from that they're always in their cases. I've not changed at all. The way I do it, looking at boxing as a job, is the right way to do it. It doesn't bother me.

"I do get asked to do a lot of [promotional] things, but I always try to swerve it. It's not me. I hate people making a fuss. It's the same after fights. I like things to settle down and to keep a low profile. I just get embarrassed because it's not me. I always try to do what I can, but I always try to clear my schedule six weeks before a fight. Sometimes it's hard to say no, but it has to be done."

Burns should not be unduly troubled by Ocampo, ranked No.14 by the WBO and a late replacement for Liam Walsh, who was injured in a car crash. It is a low-key event to end what has been a triumphant year, with impressive wins over Paulus Moses and Kevin Mitchell.

However, the prize of a proposed meeting with Broner, which would likely take place in America, is an incentive. "As long as I win, they're talking about a unification fight, so I need to get the job done first," Burns said. "After [Broner's] last fight, I saw one of his interviews and he said that he wouldn't come over here.

"I've been over [in America] a couple of times on holiday. I said I would love to move out there but I don't think I would ever do it. Every boxer's the same, they'd love to fight out there in Vegas, but my attitude is one fight at a time. There are big fights out there that people are talking about for me, but I need to win next week to keep those fights alive for me."

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