Boxing - Ocampo steps in to fight Ricky Burns

WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns expects his ‘toughest challenge’ from Jose Ocampo, despite the Filipino standing in at short notice for the injured Liam Walsh.

Burns’s title defence against Walsh was set to headline a stacked card at London’s ExCeL on December 15 until a car accident sidelined the Rochdale southpaw.

Ocampo, 23, was announced as his replacement on Thursday, keeping the world title top-liner alive, and has a record reading 17-5-1 with 12 knockouts.

And the Scottish champion, who stopped Kevin Mitchell inside four rounds in September, feels the fight will give him just as much preparation for a hopeful meeting with new WBC title-holder Adrien Broner in 2013 as Walsh would have.

“This is going to be the hardest fight of my career so far against a young, hungry challenger who wants to take my title,” Burns said.

“Filipino fighters are as tough as they come – just look at Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire. They come to fight and Ocampo will do just that.

“If he boxes like those two, as people say he does, I’ll be in for a tough night.”

Promoter Frank Warren added: “It’s a hard one for Ricky. He’s been training to face Walsh and ideally would have had more time to prepare for the different style of Ocampo.

“He can’t afford to slip up, though, because we are virtually there with the fight against Broner for next year.”