Stephen “Scobie” Burke became Ryoshin Fighting Championships’ number one featherweight contender on Saturday night after a convincing decision win over dangerous striker Alex Kravtsov.
Burke was dominant throughout the bout, controlling his opponent with a strong wrestling-based game plan put together by his coaches, Luke Corcoran and Dean O’Sullivan, at Coolmine Martial Arts Club.
With two massive takedowns grounding Kravtsov in the first two rounds, Burke stressed the importance of making sure the bout was fought on his terms.
“The takedowns were highly important and we knew they would be coming into the fight,” he said. “Alex is probably one of the most technical strikers in our weight division – he’s got great knees, kicks, punches, and he has that one-shot knockout power.
“I knew I’d won the first two rounds after I took him down and controlled the top position. When I went in at the end of the second, Dean and Luke told me to watch out because he would come looking for the KO, and he did.
“He caught me with a few strikes but I managed to deal with it. That’s the only way you get better in this game, by taking yourself out of your comfort zone. He was a better striker than me, but I still stood with him for a while and I came out on top in the end.”
Next up for Burke is a showdown with Cork’s Ben Sheehan who he will lock horns with in two weeks time at Battlezone 10.
“I’ve got the Ben Sheehan fight in two weeks time so hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and I’ll only have some small bumps and bruises to deal with. I just want to get back to the gym as quickly as possible so I can be sharp.
“It should be a great fight, I want to win and win impressively, and Ben’s a great opponent.”
As for his new number one contender status, although fighting for a belt is appealing to the Blanch-based fighter, staying in the win column is the most important thing.
“It’s definitely exciting, but it doesn’t mean everything. It’ll be nice to have something to show for all of the work I’ve put in but I just want to focus on competing and winning at the moment,” said Burke.
Also in action for C-MAC on Saturday night was Sean Keogan, fighting for the first time since moving to the Dublin 15 club, who took a big round two TKO win over Alexander Yankov.
Paul O’Brien was also set for action until his opponent pulled out of the fight with three days’ notice.