Ricky Burns turns the clock back and puts Scott Cardle out

On this trial there is still a lot of life in the old dog. Ricky Burns could approach the twilight of what has been an illustrious career, but, presented last night with an unexpected chance to get her back to light contention, the Coatbridge man grabbed her with both hands.

The 35-year-old was supposed to fight in the United States next week, but was eventually hired to face Scotty Cardle in the Manchester Arena as a late replacement for stablemate Joe Cordina.

The lightweight meeting on the undercard of the competition Oleksandr Usyk and Tony Bellew was expected in 10 rounds, but Burns, in his 51st professional fight about 17 years after his first, had only three to complete the 16th knockout victory of the his career.

Dominant of the first bell, the former three-weight world champion watched in complete control against Cardle who did not respond to Burns' power and precision.

On the third lap a cut had opened above Cardle's eye and, when a sharp right hand sent the Lytham fighter on his back as if a hatch had just opened under him, the referee counted to eight before deciding Cardle, of Scottish kinship, he had suffered enough. It was the fastest victory of Burns since 2011.

"I do not feel different now like I did when I tied my gloves," said the evergreen Burns later. "I felt good out there tonight, I was fighting next week but we were offered the chance to come to this show and we jumped at the chance.

"It's a great place to fight and I'm happy to have won the victory, Tony's job [Sims, his trainer] puts in with me and all my gym mates means I'm always ready.

"I'm always waiting for that phone call so I hope there are still big fights for me and I always find every fight the same so it looks normal tonight.

"I felt like I was doing my shots well and I got the victory that is all that matters in my eyes.We sit down now and see if we can get a big fight in line for after the new year."

Probably the defeat would have put an end to any hypothesis of Burns's return to the world stage, but the victory, and its convincing nature, should ensure that the mix for the great struggles in the light division next year.

"There are some big names out there and a couple of them have called me on social media," revealed Burns.

"But I just try to stay away from that. I'll just leave it to [manager] Alex Morrison e [promoter] Eddie [Hearn]".

His dedication and commitment in training ensure that even 35 years old can go to the feet with boxers of a younger decade.

"After every fight I'm always back in the gym," revealed Burns. "I always keep fit, I could take a break from boxing and maybe eat too much and my weight goes up, but I'm always out of my way and I'm tickling, so when I start training I always have a good physical fitness" .

The Sims admitted that Burns's youthful spirit was the key to his longevity. "We call him Benjamin Button while he is recovering the years all the time," said the coach. "It surprises me all the time, you can still see that Ricky is a world-class fighter, he still has a couple of big fights in him."

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