Burns ordered to fight Crawford

11/11/2013 21:00

Ricky Burns (36-2-1) has been ordered to defend his WBO lightweight crown against mandatory challenger Terence Crawford (22-0).

Burns was hoping to face Raymundo Beltran in a rematch after their first meeting in Glasgow in September ended in a controversial draw.

The 30-year-old suffered a broken jaw in the second round and felt that handing the Mexican a rematch was the honourable thing to do.

However, the WBO have told Burns' promoter Eddie Hearn that he has until December 8 to negotiate a defence with undefeated Crawford.

"We received a letter from the WBO on Friday to the effect that we must begin negotiations with Crawford's people, adding that we should get back to them within 30 days stating where we are at," Hearn told the Scotsman.

"But it's quite a complex situation. Top Rank represents both Beltran and Crawford and we made an offer which Beltran's team was happy with but Top Rank was not."

"In the meantime, I have asked the WBO for a voluntary defence against Beltran in February. I am also in talks with Miguel Vazquez and Ricahr Abril regarding a unification bout that would supersede a mandatory defence so there are lots going on.

"If it has to be Crawford then we will fight him," added Hearn. "But the fight everyone wants to see is Beltran and it is the right fight for boxing after what happened last time."

"But whatever happens, Ricky will be fighting in February, either in a voluntary defence, a unification bout or against Crawford."

Burns is already back in training and expected to resume sparring in December following surgery to insert a titanium plate in his jaw.