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Pull-out leaves Burns in title limbo again

World Boxing Organisation lightweight champion Ricky Burns last night branded Jose Ocampo's withdrawal from their London bill as "a joke".

Ricky Burns will be asked to box in a non-title 10-round contest on Saturday
Ricky Burns will be asked to box in a non-title 10-round contest on Saturday

The Coatbridge boxer's title plans are in disarray after the Filipino challenger pulled out just five days before the 29-year-old Scot is scheduled to top the bill at the ExCel Arena.

Promoter Frank Warren was last night trying to find a replacement for Ocampo in a desperate bid to rescue Burns' eighth world title bout from being scrapped.

But, given that Ocampo is ranked only 14th in the world by the WBO, it is difficult to imagine that Warren will be able to come up with a replacement acceptable to the sanctioning body.

"I am scunnered by the whole situation, to be honest," said a furious Burns last night. "It's a joke and Alex [Morrison, his manager] and I don't know what is happening. We're sitting here waiting for a call to find out if I will still be defending my world title this weekend."

There now appears to be little prospect of the two-weight world champion making a third defence on Saturday evening.

No reason was given by Warren's office for Ocampo's withdrawal, but Herald Sport understands that the 23-year-old's trainer died suddenly last week, leaving the boxer in a state of shock and not fit mentally to undertake what would have been the biggest fight of his career.

Ocampo was a replacement for the original challenger, Englishman Liam Walsh, who was injured in a car crash at the start of last month.

It also emerged that Burns will be asked to undertake a non-title 10-round international contest on the ExCel bill featuring three other championship bouts.

Burns will almost certainly agree to the request rather than allow weeks of hard training and preparation to go to waste, but he will do so reluctantly, given his status as a world champion.

"I could understand Liam Walsh pulling out as that simply could not be helped," added Burns.

"But this has left me sickened. Ocampo was announced as his replacement less than a fortnight ago and then we found out this morning that he is out.

"I think they have left it a

World Boxing Organisation lightweight champion Ricky Burns last night branded Jose Ocampo's withdrawal from their London bill as "a joke".

The Coatbridge boxer's title plans are in disarray after the Filipino challenger pulled out just five days before the 29-year-old Scot is scheduled to top the bill at the ExCel Arena.

Promoter Frank Warren was last night trying to find a replacement for Ocampo in a desperate bid to rescue Burns' eighth world title bout from being scrapped.

But, given that Ocampo is ranked only 14th in the world by the WBO, it is difficult to imagine that Warren will be able to come up with a replacement acceptable to the sanctioning body.

"I am scunnered by the whole situation, to be honest," said a furious Burns last night. "It's a joke and Alex [Morrison, his manager] and I don't know what is happening. We're sitting here waiting for a call to find out if I will still be defending my world title this weekend."

There now appears to be little prospect of the two-weight world champion making a third defence on Saturday evening.

No reason was given by Warren's office for Ocampo's withdrawal, but Herald Sport understands that the 23-year-old's trainer died suddenly last week, leaving the boxer in a state of shock and not fit mentally to undertake what would have been the biggest fight of his career.

Ocampo was a replacement for the original challenger, Englishman Liam Walsh, who was injured in a car crash at the start of last month.

It also emerged that Burns will be asked to undertake a non-title 10-round international contest on the ExCel bill featuring three other championship bouts.

Burns will almost certainly agree to the request rather than allow weeks of hard training and preparation to go to waste, but he will do so reluctantly, given his status as a world champion.

"I could understand Liam Walsh pulling out as that simply could not be helped," added Burns.

"But this has left me sickened. Ocampo was announced as his replacement less than a fortnight ago and then we found out this morning that he is out.

"I think they have left it a bit late to find a replacement, to be honest, but we will play it by ear until we find out exactly what is happening."

Morrison added: "Even if they come up with a replacement, the situation will still be far from ideal, as it hardly gives Ricky any time to familiarise himself with another opponent with the fight only days away."

A spokesman for Warren, meanwhile, said: "Every effort if being made to find a replacement so that the world title fight can go ahead. Ricky is still on the bill and he will be boxing, but I don't have any names at the moment."

An announcement is expected today, but it seems unlikely that Burns will be in world championship action this weekend, leaving the boxer and his travelling fans out of pocket.

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