Ricky Burns

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Ricky Burns
Burns in 2013
Nickname(s) Rickster
Rated at
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Reach 70 in (178 cm)
Nationality British
Born (1983-04-13) 13 April 1983 (age 33)
Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 46
Wins 40
Wins by KO 14
Losses 5
Draws 1

Ricky Burns (born 13 April 1983) is a British professional boxer from Coatbridge, Scotland. He has held the WBA super-lightweight title since May 2016, having previously held the WBO super-featherweight title from 2010 to 2011, and the WBO lightweight title from 2012 to 2014. Burns is one of only three British boxers to have won world titles in three weight divisions, and the first from Scotland. At regional level he held the Commonwealth super-featherweight title from 2008 to 2009, and challenged for the British and European super-featherweight titles.[1][2][3][4]

Professional career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Burns first fight as a professional was a four round victory in October 2001 over Woody Greenaway at the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland. On 12 December 2004, following a string of seven wins over opponents including Jeff Thomas, Ernie Smith and Daniel Thorpe he was matched against fellow unbeaten prospect Colin Bain. The fight, at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow, resulted in a first career defeat for Bain as Burns won over the six round distance. For Burns, the win set him up for a journey south of the border to face the unbeaten British lightweight champion Graham Earl in a non-title fight. The fight with Earl took place at the Wembley Conference Center and Burns produced one of the upsets of the year when he scored a points victory to beat Earl over eight rounds.[5]

Title fights[edit]

The win against Earl meant he would land a shot at the big time when in February 2006, he took on reigning British, Commonwealth and European champion Alex Arthur. The fight took place in Edinburgh and ended in defeat for Burns, as Arthur retained on points. Burns who was still only a 12-fight novice at this stage took the fight to Arthur prompting the champion to heap praise on him; "Ricky Burns was in superb shape and he was up for the fight" said Arthur, "He's a brilliant boxer with a great future and he could be a world champion one day." Burns himself refused to be disappointed with the loss saying; "I don't count that as a loss. I'm just 22 and it was great experience for me".[6]

Burns next had a crack at the British title almost exactly a year later when in February 2007, he met reigning champion Carl Johanneson at the Town Hall in Leeds. The fight ended once again in defeat with Burns losing a 12 round decision to the experienced champion. Johanneson intent on winning well before his home crowd hounded Burns throughout the fight and managed to knock Burns down three times.[7]


New challenges[edit]

After the defeat to Johanneson, Burns took the decision to leave his old boxing club in a bid to seek a new challenge. Burns had worked with Rab Bannan at the Barn Boxing Club for over 14 years, but the Johanneson defeat prompted a need for a change of direction. On telling his former mentor the news Burns said; "It was a nightmare having to tell him. It was really sad because I’ve been with him for 14 years. All my boxing life really. It was really hard but we left on good terms and we shook hands and I’m sure our paths will cross again." Burns moved to the Dalmarnock gym in Glasgow, where he could train alongside the likes of Willie Limond and Kenny Anderson.[8]

Since the fight with Johanneson, Burns won eight fights in a row. A ten round win over Romanian Gheorghe Ghiompirica at the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow gave him the lightly regarded British International Masters belt.[9] Burns also spent time sparring former opponent Alex Arthur in preparation for Arthur's WBO Super-Featherweight title defence against Nicky Cook.[10]

Commonwealth champion[edit]

In September 2008, Burns was in line for a crack at the vacant Commonwealth title, a belt which had been given up by Londoner Kevin Mitchell. The challenge took place at the York Hall in Bethnal Green and saw Burns outpoint the Ghanaian Osumana Akaba over 12 rounds.[11] The fight which was taken with only weeks notice after the original main event on the card was cancelled propelled Burns into the championship frame. Speaking of his future ambitions Burns said; "There is only one fight I want at the moment. That fight would be the current British champion Kevin Mitchell. He recently has been injured, and won't be back until December so we'll have to see what happens".[12]

Burns defended his crown at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall soon afterwards in November 2008, against another Ghanaian, Yakubu Amidu. The African fighter had a record of 16–1–1, with all his victories coming by way of stoppage. Burns however was too much and his superior fitness levels showed as the referee stopped the contest in the seventh round handing victory to the Scotsman.[13] Burns second defence took place in March 2009, and saw Burns halt former British champion Michael Gomez in the seventh round.[14] On 20 June 2009, Burns made perhaps the toughest defence of his title yet with a hard fought 12 round win over Northern Ireland's Kevin O'Hara.[15] with the assistance of the highly experienced trainer Billy Nelson and his Fighting Scots Gym in Stepps. Ricky became Billy's first world champion.

WBO super featherweight champion[edit]

Burns success in the ring had elevated him to the number one ranking with the World Boxing Organization's rankings. Burns' promoter Frank Warren tried to negotiate a match with the reigning champion Roman Martinez. The bout with the Puerto Rican champion had been subject to numerous delays with the fight scheduled for both Scotland and Puerto Rico at various intervals only for the fight never to materialise and for Martinez to make a voluntary defence of his title instead. The uncertainty for Burns meant that a proposed British title contest against Gary Sykes never happened with Sykes winning the title against Burns replacement Andy Morris and defending against the man Burns had defeated in his last Commonwealth title defence Kevin O'Hara.[16] Finally after almost a year of frustration Burns re-entered the ring on 15 May 2010, on the undercard of Kevin Mitchell's world title shot against Michael Katsidis at the Boleyn Ground. Burns continued his winning streak and kept ticking over with an eight round win over journeyman and former foe Youssef Al Hamidi. Burns claimed after the fight that he hoped the fight with Román Martinez would materialise around July and that it would be in Glasgow.[17]

The WBO super-featherweight title showdown between Burns and Roman Martinez was eventually confirmed on 24 June 2010 and scheduled to take place at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow on 4 September. Speaking at the announcement of the fight Burns said; "this has been dragging on a bit..it is the biggest fight of my career but I'm more than confident that I can beat him".[18] Finally on 4 September, Burns entered the ring at Kelvin Hall to face the WBO's unbeaten reigning world champion Roman Martinez. Martinez had held the title for over a year winning it from Englishman Nicky Cook and defending twice against Colombian Feider Viloria and Argentinian Gonzalo Munguia.[19] Despite suffering a knockdown in the first round, Burns took the fight to the champion winning on all three judges scorecards 115–112, 115–112 and 115–113 to inflict a career first defeat on Martinez and finally winning the world title.[20]

Speaking of the fight, Burns promoter Frank Warren said; "this was the best night I've ever had in Scotland and I've had some great shows with Scott Harrison and Alex Arthur as well as bringing Nigel Benn and Frank Bruno up here." Describing the atmosphere at the Kelvin Hall as "electric" he went on to praise Burns, who in winning the title had become Scotland's 12th world champion, saying Scotland had a new "sporting hero" and that the win would lead to a renaissance in Scottish boxing. It also transpired that before the fight the manager of Celtic, Neil Lennon had called to wish Burns the best and sent him a Celtic strip signed by the whole of the first team as a good luck present.[21]

Title defences[edit]

On 4 December 2010, Burns defended his title for the first time against Norwegian boxer Andreas Evensen who held the WBO inter-continental belt at featherweight. The fight, at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, resulted in another unanimous points win for Burns with the Scotsman also scoring a knockdown in the first round.[22] On 12 March 2011, Burns made his second defence again at the Braehead Arena. His opponent the Ghanaian boxer Joseph Laryea had won the WBO Inter-Continental title win a victory over Scotsman Paul Appleby on the same night that Burns beat Evenson. The fight was stopped in the 7th round after Laryea withdrew citing a broken knuckle with Burns ahead in the fight.[23] Burns' next defence was scheduled for 16 July 2011 and against former WBO Champion Nicky Cook, in Liverpool's Echo Arena.[24] The fight resulted in a 93-second stoppage for Burns as Cook's corner threw in the towel following an injury to his back. After only six seconds a punch from Burns resulted in Cook receiving a count and complaining of back trouble. Cook was sent to the canvas twice more before his corner retired the boxer handing a third straight defence of the title to Burns who said that he would like to fight the South African boxer Mzonke Fana next.[25]

Burns was next scheduled to meet mandatory challenger, and Boxrec No. 1 rated Super featherweight, Adrien Broner, but announced on 22 September 2011 that he would be relinquishing his WBO Super featherweight title and moving up to compete at lightweight. Burns said that the move up a weight division would ease the pressure of having to control his weight saying "the last couple of fights it was getting harder and harder for me to do it."[26] Adrien Broner commented on the situation, saying, "You vacated the title talking about you couldn't make weight no more. But you just fought four times and defended this title", Broner further said, "But everyone knows boxing is a game where you can duck fighters... and I guess he felt like running away was best for his career."[27]

Move to lightweight[edit]

In his first fight at the weight it was announced that Burns would fight Australian Michael Katsidis in London for the WBO interim lightweight title. Speaking of the fight Burns said that it would definitely be the toughest of his career saying "I don't think they could have got me a harder fight if they tried, he's been in with the best of the weight, he's proved himself, obviously he's one of the best in the division and it's a great chance to get out there and show what I can do." On 5 November 2011, Burns took on Katsidis for the WBO interim lightweight championship and despite being the slight underdog went on to win the fight by unanimous decision.[26] After the fight Burns claimed to have "proved a lot of people wrong" as some people "thought Michael would walk all over me". Speaking of the fight he added "Michael didn't give me a minute, he kept coming forward but I'd prepared for that. I'm doing my job and that's the way I always look at it."[28]

On 26 January 2012, Burns was installed as WBO Lightweight champion after former champion Juan Manuel Márquez moved up a division to Welterweight. Ricky defended his WBO Lightweight title against Namibian fighter Paulus Moses. He will have the homefield advantage with the fight being held in Braehead Arena, Glasgow. Burns said, "It's great news about the title but it's back to reality and training hard for what will be a tough title defence against Moses in my homecoming in Scotland. "For the last 10 years I’ve been grafting away in my career. But in the last couple of years it has really taken off with me beating Roman Martinez and then beating a great warrior like Katsidis to put me up there with the best in the world." Ricky would go on to successfully defend his title via a unanimous points win, with Moses outboxed by Ricky, who was awarded victory 119–110,120–110,117–111 by the three judges.

Burns vs. Mitchell[edit]

In June 2012 it was confirmed after months of negotiations that Burns' next fight will be another defence of his WBO Lightweight title, against former WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight champion Kevin Mitchell on 22 September 2012. In front of a sold out Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre Burns turned in a career best performance to defeat Mitchell via fourth-round TKO. Burns looked the much bigger man on fight night and seemed to recognise this adopting a more aggressive style, he was gaining control of the fight by the 4th round out boxing Mitchell he would go on to Knock Mitchell down twice in Round 4 in the last minute of round 4 and a further onslaught forced the referee to stop the fight. After such a dominant performance, Burns was able to make a legitimate claim to being of the best at 135 pounds.

Cancelled fights[edit]

On 15 December 2012, Burns was expected to defend his WBO Lightweight title against Liam Walsh at the ExCeL, London. Walsh was later involved in a car crash and had to pull out.[29] Walsh's replacement was revealed to be Jose Ocampo.[30] Ocampo however, had to pull out due to death of his trainer.[31] then followed an announcement from Burns that he would not be competing in London on that date after not being able to find an opponent in time.[32] With promoter Frank Warren unable to secure an opponent for a rescheduled date of 26 January 2013, Burns declined the opportunity of an exhibition bout, deciding instead to take a long rest between fights.[33][34]

Vazquez fight and promotions change[edit]

On 4 March 2013, the unification fight between Burns and Miguel Vazquez (which was originally scheduled for 16 March 2013) was postponed to 20 April 2013 because Vazquez was suffering from a viral infection. Burns was due to defend his WBO title while also challenging for Vazquez' IBF title.[35] The Vazquez fight was also called off with Burns manager Alex Morrison telling The Scotsman "I doubt very much that fight was ever going to happen – leading to an announcement on 7 March 2013 that Burns had left Frank Warren's promotion stable.[36][37]

Title defences[edit]

On 11 March 2013 it was confirmed that Burns had joined Eddie Hearn's Matchroom promotions and fought for the first time under Matchroom on 11 May 2013, when he faced Puerto Rican Jose Gonzalez at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, a fight broadcast on Sky Sports .[38][39] Burns won the fight in the ninth round after being outboxed in the first 6 rounds however the fight took a drastic change in round 7 where Burns was hurt before firing back in true championship style, Burns dominated rounds 8 & 9. Gonzalez refused to come out for the tenth round citing a damaged wrist for pulling out of the fight despite being 87-84 ahead on all 3 cards.[40]

Burns vs. Beltran, Crawford[edit]

Burns's promoter Eddie Hearn announced that Burns would fight again on 7 September 2013 against Raymundo Beltran of Mexico at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.[41] Burns was knocked down in the 8th round. The bout ended in a controversial split-decision draw as the vast majority of observers believed Beltran had won and the decision is seen as one of the worst decisions of 2013. The draw meant Burns retained his WBO Lightweight title.[42][43][44] It was confirmed after the fight that Burns had broken his jaw as early as the second round. After having surgery the following day it was unsure when, and if, Burns would be able to fight again, but after the surgery was successful, Burns expressed interest in a rematch with Beltran. However, the WBO installed Terence Crawford as Burns's mandatory challenger and the bout took place on 1 March 2014, where Crawford defeated Burns by unanimous decision to win the WBO Lightweight title.

2014 comeback[edit]

On 27 June 2014 Burns fought Dejan Zlaticanin at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, it was an eliminator fight for the WBC International title.[45] Burns lost the fight to Zlaticanin on split decision points, this was his second consecutive loss.

After the loss to Zlaticanin on 27 June 2014 Burns promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed on 4 July 2014 that he would have a "Make or Break" 10 round fight in a move to the light-welterweight division. Ths will be on 4 October 2014 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, giving Burns a break from fighting in Scotland, the fight was originally scheduled for 13 September 2014 in Manchester but was moved due to an elbow injury Burns sustained in the Zlaticanin fight.[46] Burns defeated French journeyman Alexandre Lepelley via points on his light-welterweight debut on 4 October 2014.[47]

In his US debut, Burns faced off against undefeated former WBC Lightweight champion Omar Figueroa on 9 May 2015 in Hidalgo, Texas.[48] In a fight that saw both men land clean hard punches throughout was over shadowed by disgraceful refereeing you deducted 2 points from Ricky Burns for holding and for repeatedly moving both boxers hands whilst they were in a dominant position within the clinch. Burns would lose a controversial decision as the judges in Texas scored the fight widely to the home fighter.

Burns then went on to win two consecutive fights, firstly with a TKO victory against Prince Ofotsu on 1 August 2015 in Hull then winning via KO against Josh King on 7 November 2015 in Liverpool.

WBA light welterweight champion[edit]

Burns vs Di Rocco[edit]

It was confirmed on March 15, 2016 that Burns would fight Michele di Rocco for the vacant WBA Light welterweight title at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 28 May 2016.[49] Burns dominated from start to finish with his jab and right cross, knocking his opponent down on the third and stopping him in the eighth in front of a packed crowd. With this win Burns became a three-weight world champion, one of only three British fighters in history, he is also the first Scotsman to achieve this feat.[50]

Burns vs Relikh[edit]

WBA ordered Burns to defend his world title against their Inter-Continental champion Kiryl Relikh (21-0, 19 KOs) of Belarus, who is promoted by former world champion Ricky Hatton.[51]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
46 fights 40 wins 5 losses
By knockout 14 0
By decision 26 5
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
47 N/A N/A Belarus Kiryl Relikh N/A – (12) 7 Oct 2016 United Kingdom The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland Defending WBA super-lightweight title
46 Win 40–5–1 Italy Michele di Rocco TKO 8 (12), 1:57 28 May 2016 United Kingdom The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland Won vacant WBA super-lightweight title
45 Win 39–5–1 Australia Josh King KO 11 (12), 0:54 7 Nov 2015 United Kingdom Echo Arena, Liverpool, England Won vacant WBO International lightweight title
44 Win 38–5–1 Ghana Prince Ofotsu TKO 5 (8), 1:43 1 Aug 2015 United Kingdom Craven Park, Hull, England
43 Loss 37–5–1 United States Omar Figueroa UD 12 9 May 2015 United States State Farm Arena, Hidalgo, Texas, US
42 Win 37–4–1 France Alexandre Lepelley PTS 8 4 Oct 2014 United Kingdom First Direct Arena, Leeds, England
41 Loss 36–4–1 Montenegro Dejan Zlaticanin SD 12 27 Jun 2014 United Kingdom Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland For vacant WBC International lightweight title
40 Loss 36–3–1 United States Terence Crawford UD 12 1 Mar 2014 United Kingdom SECC, Glasgow, Scotland Lost WBO lightweight title
39 Draw 36–2–1 Mexico Raymundo Beltrán SD 12 7 Sep 2013 United Kingdom SECC, Glasgow, Scotland Retained WBO lightweight title
38 Win 36–2 Puerto Rico Jose Gonzalez RTD 9 (12), 3:00 11 May 2013 United Kingdom Emirates Arena, Glasgow, Scotland Retained WBO lightweight title
37 Win 35–2 United Kingdom Kevin Mitchell TKO 4 (12), 2:59 22 Sep 2012 United Kingdom SECC, Glasgow, Scotland Retained WBO lightweight title
36 Win 34–2 Namibia Paulus Moses UD 12 10 Mar 2012 United Kingdom Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland Retained WBO lightweight title
35 Win 33–2 Australia Michael Katsidis UD 12 5 Nov 2011 United Kingdom Wembley Arena, London, England Won WBO interim lightweight title
34 Win 32–2 United Kingdom Nicky Cook TKO 1 (12), 1:33 16 Jul 2011 United Kingdom Echo Arena, Liverpool, England Retained WBO super-featherweight title
33 Win 31–2 Ghana Joseph Laryea RTD 7 (12), 3:00 12 Mar 2011 United Kingdom Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland Retained WBO super-featherweight title
32 Win 30–2 Norway Andreas Evensen UD 12 4 Dec 2010 United Kingdom Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland Retained WBO super-featherweight title
31 Win 29–2 Puerto Rico Román Martínez UD 12 4 Sep 2010 United Kingdom Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland Won WBO super-featherweight title
30 Win 28–2 Syria Youssef Al Hamidi PTS 8 15 May 2010 United Kingdom Boleyn Ground, London, England
29 Win 27–2 United Kingdom Kevin O'Hara UD 12 19 Jun 2009 United Kingdom Bellahouston Sport Centre, Glasgow, Scotland Retained Commonwealth super-featherweight title
28 Win 26–2 United Kingdom Michael Gomez TKO 7 (12), 0:47 27 Mar 2009 United Kingdom Bellahouston Sport Centre, Glasgow, Scotland Retained Commonwealth super-featherweight title
27 Win 25–2 Ghana Yakubu Amidu TKO 7 (12), 2:57 14 Nov 2008 United Kingdom Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland Retained Commonwealth super-featherweight title
26 Win 24–2 Ghana Osumanu Akaba UD 12 26 Sep 2008 United Kingdom York Hall, London, England Won vacant Commonwealth super-featherweight title
25 Win 23–2 Romania Gheorghe Ghiompirica PTS 10 17 May 2008 United Kingdom Thistle Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland
24 Win 22–2 United Kingdom Billy Smith PTS 4 22 Mar 2008 United Kingdom International Arena, Cardiff, Wales
23 Win 21–2 Nigeria Silence Saheed TKO 3 (6), 2:45 22 Feb 2008 United Kingdom Dalziel Park Hotel, Motherwell, Scotland
22 Win 20–2 United Kingdom Billy Smith PTS 6 15 Dec 2007 United Kingdom Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland
21 Win 19–2 Syria Youssef Al Hamidi PTS 6 3 Nov 2007 United Kingdom Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
20 Win 18–2 Ghana Ben Odamattey PTS 8 26 Oct 2007 United Kingdom SeeWoo Restaurant, Glasgow, Scotland
19 Win 17–2 France Frederic Bonifai TKO 5 (8), 2:45 13 Oct 2007 United Kingdom York Hall, London, England
18 Win 16–2 United Kingdom Ernie Smith PTS 6 15 Sep 2007 United Kingdom Linwood Leisure Centre, Paisley, Scotland
17 Loss 15–2 United Kingdom Carl Johanneson UD 12 9 Feb 2007 United Kingdom Town Hall, Leeds, England For British super-featherweight title
16 Win 15–1 Bulgaria Wladimir Borov PTS 8 4 Nov 2006 United Kingdom Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
15 Win 14–1 Benin Adolphe Avadja TKO 5 (8), 2:14 1 Apr 2006 United Kingdom York Hall, London, England
14 Loss 13–1 United Kingdom Alex Arthur UD 12 18 Feb 2006 United Kingdom Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland For European, British, and Commonwealth super-featherweight titles
13 Win 13–0 United Kingdom Alan Temple PTS 4 23 Jul 2005 United Kingdom Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland
12 Win 12–0 Pakistan Haider Ali PTS 8 17 Jun 2005 United Kingdom Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
11 Win 11–0 Uganda Buster Dennis PTS 6 8 Apr 2005 United Kingdom Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland
10 Win 10–0 United Kingdom Graham Earl PTS 8 25 Feb 2005 United Kingdom Wembley Conference Centre, London, England
9 Win 9–0 United Kingdom Colin Bain PTS 6 12 Dec 2004 United Kingdom Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland
8 Win 8–0 United Kingdom Jeff Thomas PTS 4 29 Oct 2004 United Kingdom Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland
7 Win 7–0 United Kingdom Daniel Thorpe PTS 6 8 Oct 2004 United Kingdom Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland
6 Win 6–0 Albania Nono Junior PTS 8 8 Dec 2002 United Kingdom Thistle Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland
5 Win 5–0 United Kingdom Neil Murray TKO 2 (4), 0:36 19 Oct 2002 United Kingdom Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland
4 Win 4–0 United Kingdom Ernie Smith PTS 6 6 Sep 2002 United Kingdom Thistle Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland
3 Win 3–0 United Kingdom Gary Harrison TKO 1 (4), 1:30 8 Jun 2002 United Kingdom Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland
2 Win 2–0 United Kingdom Peter Allen PTS 6 15 Mar 2002 United Kingdom Thistle Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland
1 Win 1–0 United Kingdom Woody Greenaway PTS 4 20 Oct 2001 United Kingdom Thistle Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland Professional debut

Titles in boxing[edit]

Regional titles
Title last held by
Kevin Mitchell
Commonwealth super-featherweight champion
26 September 2008 – October 2010
Title next held by
Liam Walsh
Title last held by
Diego Magdaleno
WBO International lightweight champion
7 November 2015 – present
World titles
Preceded by
Román Martínez
WBO super-featherweight champion
4 September 2010 – 10 September 2011
Title next held by
Adrien Broner
Title last held by
Robert Guerrero
WBO lightweight champion
Interim title

5 November 2011 – 6 January 2012
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Márquez
WBO lightweight champion
6 January 2012 – 1 March 2014
Succeeded by
Terence Crawford
Title last held by
Adrien Broner
WBA super-lightweight champion
28 May 2016 – present


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External links[edit]