Confirming details of the bout yesterday, Alex Morrison, the Scot's manager, dismissed rumours that the broken right jaw Burns suffered against Mexican Raymundo Beltran three months ago is taking longer than anticipated to heal. The 30-year-old has until March 7 to make a mandatory defence under WBO rules or forfeit the title he has held for two years.
Promoter Eddie Hearn had hoped to stage a groundbreaking showdown at the 12,000-capacity SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, which he had provisionally booked for February 8, but the venue is unavailable for the later date after Hearn decided to put the fight back three weeks to give Burns the maximum amount of time possible to make a complete recovery.
Burns underwent surgery to have a titanium plate fitted to hold his jaw in place immediately after the fourth defence of his title, which ended in a controversial draw against Beltran, but he was cleared by his doctors last week to resume sparring.
Morrison said: "Ricky won't start sparring until January purely as a precaution. But he has been back training for the last couple of weeks and everything is going well.
"The injury is more psychological than anything, but Ricky is strong mentally and once he gets hit on his jaw I know he will be fine."