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World Weekend Roundup: Burns, Bellew Win World Titles

The action this weekend was in the UK, with Ricky Burns returning to the world stage on Saturday in Scotland and Tony Bellew ascending to that level for the first time in England on Sunday.

Ex-WBO super feather/lightweight champion Burns, 40-5-1 (14), tangled with current European light welter king Michele Di Rocco, 40-2-1 (18), for the vacant WBA super lightweight title at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

Characteristically, Di Rocco started very aggressively, attacking the local man with sharp jabs and power shots but while that tactic worked at the European level, it was a different story against Burns.

The former two-weight world champion used his height and experience to negate Di Rocco's efforts before then mixing in his own offense to great effect, flooring the Italian in the third round.

Di Rocco never stopped trying to pressure Burns but didn't have the defense to carry it off as the Scotsman kept his adversary at the end of jabs and straight rights.

Burns turned up the heat in the eighth as his rival was running out of gas, nailing Di Rocco with a short short that produced another knockdown. The visitor beat the count but was in no shape to continue as the contest was waved off at 1:57 of the round.

Burns will next possibly face current WBA Intercontinental titlist Kiryl Relikh, an undefeated slugger from Belarus, who doesn't have any world class experience but is a career light welter who is no stranger to fighting in the UK< having done so three times already.

On the undercard, British light welter champ Tyrone Nurse, 33-2-1 (7), stopped former titlist Willie Limond, 39-5 (11), at 1:54 of the ninth frame.

On Sunday at Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool, England, local cruiserweight hero Tony Bellew, 27-2-1 (17), had to get up off the canvas in the first round before he could defeat southpaw opponent Illunga Makabu, 19-2 (18), for the WBC belt.

The much shorter Makabu nailed Bellew with a full-blooded left that downed Bellew and broke his nose near the end of the first round but was unable to better his work.

When fighting resumed, the pair went at it in thrilling fashion, clearly intent on finishing the other man off.

That moment came at 1:20 of the third round when Bellew landed a succession of flush shots that had the South African unable to continue.

Bellew finally wins a world title after two previous tries at light heavyweight and next could have to face injured WBC-champion-in recess Grigory Drozd in what should be a very tough fight for the Englishman.

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