Former four-division titleholder Adrien Broner will be cheering for junior welterweight titlist Ricky Burns to win his mandatory defense against Kiryl Relikh on Oct. 7 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
The reason is simple: If Burns wins, Broner, who is expected to be ringside, is likely to get the next shot at his 140-pound belt.
"We were pretty much there in terms of the deal to fight Broner but because of [Broner's] issues out of the ring we all decided to fight Relikh and try and clear the mandatory before securing the fight against Broner in December," Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, Burn's promoter, said Friday.
Hearn has a good working relationship with Broner adviser Al Haymon and Broner is eyeing a fight before the end of the year. Broner was stripped of a junior welterweight title earlier this year when he failed to make weight for a defense against Ashley Theophane in Washington, D.C., on April 1. The fight went ahead anyway with Theophane eligible to win the vacant title but Broner knocked him out in the ninth round, leaving the belt vacant.
Broner (32-2, 24 KOs), 27, apparently believes he can still make 140 pounds to challenge Burns for the belt.
"If Ricky Burns takes the fight I'm [going] to stop him," Broner said.
After the fight with Theophane, Broner returned home to Cincinnati to answer outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony assault and aggravated robbery charges stemming from a late-night incident at a bowling alley in January. He wound up spending a month in jail during the summer for contempt of court related to the case.
The assault and robbery charges were eventually dropped a couple of weeks ago when the alleged victim and star witness failed to show up for the trial, freeing Broner to pursue his next bout.
"Adrien contacted me this week and said he is coming to Glasgow on Oct. 7 to watch the fight and if Ricky defeats Relikh I expect that fight to get made without any problems," Hearn said.
Scotland's Burns, a three-division titleholder, will be making his first junior welterweight defense. On May 28, Burns (40-5-1, 14 KOs), 33, knocked out Italy's Michele Di Rocco in the eighth round at the SSE Hydro to win the title left vacant by Broner's failure to make weight.