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Burns has ran out of sparring partners; BOXING.

TRAINER Billy Nelson has revealed he is going to have to look abroad for sparring partners that can keep up with Ricky Burns as he tipped the Scot to hit top form in his latest WBO lightweight title defence.

Promoter Eddie Hearn argued at the head-to-head press conference with Raymundo Beltran in Glasgow that "victory on Saturday cements him as the greatest Scottish boxer of all time".

The declaration drew an embarrassed smile from Burns but Nelson feels his fighter has already proved himself greater than the likes of Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt.

The 30-year-old is looking to stretch his record to nine successful world title fights when he takes on Mexican Beltran at Glasgow's SECC, and Nelson feels he is continuing to improve.

"He is the best fighter Scotland has ever had and he has still got plenty years to go," said Nelson, who runs the Fighting Scots gym in Mossend, Lanarkshire.

"He will unify titles and hopefully win a third world title at light-welterweight.

"He is a two-weight world champion, undefeated in his last 21 fights. He is very humble and someone has to speak up for him. And that will be me, because I see him on a daily basis.

"I know how good he is. I see what he does to quality, quality sparring partners on a daily basis. And they are not enjoying it.

"In fact, probably for the next fight we are going to have to bring in American and European sparring partners because we are running out of British opponents.

"We can't have mediocre sparring partners. It has got to be top guys because not only do you need to get yourself sharp physically for the fight, you have got to be mentally sharp as well.

"There is no point bringing in people that Ricky can just bash about a boxing ring. We bring in quality and that gets him properly prepared for a 12-round fight like we are going to get on Saturday against Raymundo Beltran."

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Ricky Burns yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 5, 2013
Words:340
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