Sheffield boxer plays mind games ahead of Euro bout

Bad night at the office for Ross Burkinshaw, in May. .''Picture by Dan Westwell
Bad night at the office for Ross Burkinshaw, in May. .''Picture by Dan Westwell
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The latest re-birth of boxer Ross Burkinshaw is set for November 21.

Sheffield’s WBO European bantamweight champion will defend his title against an undisclosed opponent, at the Magna Centre Rotherham.

The contest will the first since his four round defeat to Klaas Mboyane at the same venue in May for an Inter-Contintental title.

That was the sixth loss in the Beighton fighter’s 22-match career and proved that he had yet to fully learn and implement the teachings of trainer Ryan Rhodes.

Since then he has been working with a ‘neuro linguistic mind coach’ and sport psychologist to ensure he sticks to his game plan rather than act on a macho rush of blood to the head.

“After that last fight I don’t know what sort of opponent I’d like next” admitted Burkinshaw.

“That was a set back and Ryan was upset with me afterwards - the red mist came down again. But I’m working on that and I have plenty of options, including my European defence at the Magna.”

Burkinshaw had won five straight before South African Mboyane beat him; Burkinshaw had to retire at the end of the fourth round with an elbow injury. “I cannot dwell on the past, this is now about me going forward - listening to my coach and overcoming the way I think when that red mist starts to come down. I would like to fight Mboyane again, but we’ll see about that after the November show.”

The 29-year-old won the WBO Euro title in February with a first round knockout of Belgian Benjamin Smoes, at the Octagon Centre.

Burkinshaw says he might also have another pop at the Commonwealth title which he vacated, some time next year, depending on guidance from promoter Dennis Hobson.

Meanwhile amateur Sheffield prospect Dalton Smith (60kg) had a fine start to the Commonwealth Youth Games, in Samoa, beating Australian Harrison Garside. He posted on Facebook: “A little rusty but a win’s a win, I fight New Zealand (Keegan O’Kane Jones; quarter final) tomorrow, thanks for the amazing support.