DARLINGTON’S Chris Burton wants to make up for lost time. After turning pro in 2005, Burton racked up a 14-1 (6) record as a heavyweight – his only loss coming to Sam Sexton in a Prizefighter final – before succumbing to an arm injury.
After a two year layoff, the 30-year-old returned to the ring in September 2011, looking in great shape down at the cruiserweight limit and posting a four-round points victory over journeyman Hastings Rasani.
On February 25, at the Exhibition Centre in Aberdeen and in only his second fight at the 14st 4lbs limit, Chris takes on Jon-Lewis Dickinson, 9-2 (2), in an attempt to wrest away the Durham man’s Northern Area belt.
You’re trained by Neil Fannan, who has a reputation as a real task master. How has preparation been going and what shape will you be in when you step into the ring?
CB: Training’s been going really well. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, than I ever was at heavyweight. I had a long time off and I’ve done a lot of strength and conditioning, and a lot of uphill running. On top of that I’ve got a high protein diet and have been eating healthy. Before when I was heavyweight you can have your bad food, but at cruiserweight I’m more determined and hungrier and it’s made me a better fighter.
I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, I feel stronger than I’ve ever been. Sparring’s been going really well, and I’m bang on track and can’t wait to fight.
Who have you been sparring with in preparation for Jon-Lewis Dickinson?
CB: I’ve been sparring with Danny Price. There were a couple of Scottish amateur lads came down, then there’s been Danny Hughes as well. It’s been great; Danny Price is good with a good jab and is a nice boxer. Come fight night I’ll be in great shape. When I fought Rasani, I felt much better than I did at heavyweight and I had more speed and power. Danny Hughes, who I’ve sparred when I was at heavyweight, said I now punch harder and faster at cruiserweight.
How much have you seen of Jon-Lewis and how highly do you rate him as an opponent?
CB: He’s a good boxer; I’ve watched him fight a couple of times. I’m used to getting hit off heavyweights though, and my strength should show through. I’m not taking anything away from him because at the end of the day he’s still a credible fighter but obviously I’m in it to win it and I’m looking ahead to bigger things.
Is Dickinson your toughest opponent to date?
CB: No. It’s hard to say because when I was at heavyweight I wasn’t as fit as I am now. I’m ready you know, there’s no doubts in my mind that there’s only one winner. There’s only one person walking away with that title. I’m not taking him lightly because that’s when you get mistakes. I’ve trained for 12 rounds not 10 and I can’t wait to get out, it’s been too long. This fight has been put back and put back and I can’t wait to get out there.
You had a long layoff before fighting Rasani and afterwards said you’d felt a little rusty. Would you have liked another warm up bout before fighting for the Northern Area title?
No, Dickinson’s perfect. I want to move up in the rounds, I’m that fit. I’m more than fit enough to do 10 rounds. With the Rasani fight I was trying too hard to knock him out and I was smothering some of my shots. I’m doing hard sparring, doing high intensity training, and I’m more than ready.
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