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Simmons on war footing as Camacho 'gets personal'

QUITE what the more genteel members of Glasgow society used to attending orchestral manoeuvres at the City Halls would have made of it is difficult to say.

bridge too far: Wadi Camacho and Stephen Simmons square up before the situation  became messy. Picture: Getty Images
bridge too far: Wadi Camacho and Stephen Simmons square up before the situation became messy. Picture: Getty Images

But even hardened boxing scribes were taken aback yesterday when the world champion Ricky Burns' media conference threatened to descend into a public brawl.

Burns, who was on hand to discuss his forthcoming World Boxing Organization lightweight title defence against the mandatory challenger, the American Terence Crawford, found himself little more than a bit player when cruiserweight rivals Stephen Simmons and Wadi Camacho lost the plot.

Simmons, a born-again Christian, threatened fire and brimstone in the manner of a 15th-century preacher, although what the British Boxing Board of Control will make of his threat to send Camacho home "in a coma" is entirely another matter.

The 29-year-old from Edinburgh also invited the Barcelona-born ­challenger "outside" to settle their differences in a car park as Camacho responded with taunts of "Cookie Monster".

The exchange lasted several minutes and was captured on TV before Simmons hit out: "He's been disrespectful by getting personal by bringing my family and my fiancée into it. He's been putting dirty pictures up - sex pictures - and putting Nicole's face on them. He also did it with the missus of one of my friends. If I was to show you the photographs you would be appalled. It's disgusting. This has been going on for about a year and I really dislike the guy. I'm looking forward to ripping his head off. He can trash talk me, I don't mind. But my fiancée has nothing to do with this. I am the one who does the fighting."

Simmons faces possible disciplinary action by the sport's governing body, but Eddie Hearn, the promoter, said: "While Stephen said some things he shouldn't have, I hope he doesn't get fined because he's young and he's learning."

Crawford was not present to witness the scenes after it transpired he is still waiting to take delivery of a passport to facilitate his visit to Glasgow on March 1 when he will challenge 30-year-old Burns' status as world champion at the SECC.

Burns confirmed, though, that he has been cleared by his surgeon to resume his career after his right jaw was broken by the Mexican Raymundo Beltran last September when the judges caused uproar by awarding the champion a draw.

"I started sparring last week and I haven't taken many shots on it yet, so fingers crossed that I don't have any accidents in the build-up. It's at the back of your mind about what if it was going to go again. But the surgeon said I just need to forget about it and now that I know it is okay, if it happens again, it happens.

"If it did it would be the same procedure, another plate would be fitted. The plate's there for life but as far as I am concerned it's at the back of my mind and I'm concentrating on the fight. There's no more chance of it happening now than there was before. When I got it checked a few weeks ago they x-rayed it and said the bones have knitted together."

Hearn, who had expressed concern that Burns' career was under threat, added: "Ricky's jaw is good. He has sparred and everything seems fine for what will be his toughest fight. When you speak to people in America, they rate Crawford very highly, but coming to Glasgow, where the atmosphere is the best I've known, will be a whole new experience out of his comfort zone and we'll see how good he is once he hears the crowd roar."

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