Scotland’s Ricky Burns and Puerto Rico’s Roman Martinez. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/PA Images via Getty Images)
It was party time in Scotland.
On Sept. 4, 2010, Ricky Burns upset the then-unbeaten Roman Martinez via 12-round unanimous decision to claim the WBO junior lightweight title at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. The official scores were 115-112, 115-112 and 115-113.
Martinez had earned the reputation of an authentic knockout puncher when he stopped England’s Nicky Cook (TKO 4) in March 2009. The Puerto Rican power puncher had made two defenses, winning both fights by stoppage.
Burns was a former Commonwealth junior lightweight champion and an improving force. Recent wins over Michael Gomez and Kevin O’Hara were well received and earned him mandatory status. However, many felt that the Scotsman’s deficiency in hitting power (7 KOs in 28 wins) would be his undoing.
The oddsmakers made Martinez a solid 3-1 favorite and early on their opinions looked justified. After boxing well for the majority of the opening round, Burns was dropped by a lead right and the partisan crowd fell silent. The challenger wasn’t hurt, but a message had been sent.
However, over the course of the fight, Burns took command. His jab doubled and tripled into the face of the more aggressive champion and he whipped in some terrific hooks to the body and an accurate right uppercut. Martinez never stopped trying but he was outmaneuvered and outboxed for the vast majority of the fight.
Burns became Scotland’s 12th world champion and would make three defenses. He would enjoy further glory in his career, claiming world titles at 135 and 140 pounds.