Boxing trainer Tony Sims last night hailed Ricky Burns’ ability to learn new tricks as the Coatbridge fighter prepares for one of the biggest clashes of his career.

Burns put his birthday celebrations on hold yesterday as he continues his preparation for Saturday night’s showdown with Namibian southpaw, Julius Indongo.

Sims, who can still be found in the corner of IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, has been impressed by Burns’ ability to adapt in the time they have worked together.

At 34, Burns has plenty of boxing miles on the clock and and Sims, who has been working with Burns at his Essex training base for the last couple of years, knows that experience remains a valuable weapon in the armoury.

He said: “I’ve had to change some of the things that he’d been doing after we started working together. “They say that old dogs can’t learn new tricks but Ricky is one of those fighters who can change.

“Part of that comes with experience but he can also adapt his tactics in the middle of a fight as well as at training. He’s a special sort of fighter.

“If you teach him something he might not get it there and then but he’ll go away and think about it. A lot.

“Then he’ll try it out and make that special move or that certain combination work for him. Defensively, it’s the same and he brings it all together through sheer effort. He puts everything into his training and makes things happen.”

One thing that didn’t happen for Burns was a match up with Adrien Broner, who has progressed up the weights with the Scot. A tussle on American soil looked to be on the cards until Broner announced a different opponent and defeated Adrian Grandados by split decision back in February.

Burns is still hopeful of going toe-to-toe with the fighter from Cincinnati and Sims is remaining calm about the prospect.

He added: “I wasn’t too worried because I believe that everything happens for a reason and, if Ricky unifies these titles on Saturday night, then a fight against Broner will always be there,” he added. “I’ve heard that Broner is actually touring over here at the moment and that he’s planning to turn up at Ricky’s press conference on Thursday.

“So that fight will be there if Ricky beats Indongo but so, too, will the rematch against Terence Crawford, who holds the other titles and The Ring belt, which is the one that Ricky has always wanted.

“I’ve been telling him all the way through this training camp that this contest on Saturday is the biggest and most important fight of his life.

“This is the one that will open the doors to the mega-bucks fights in the States that he’s been waiting for his whole career. Ricky has always wanted to box in Las Vegas and this is his big chance.”

Sims has left no stone unturned in the build up as he looks to make sure that Burns is fully equipped for the Saturday bout.

He said: “To prepare for Indongo, we brought in a lot of different southpaws for sparring and he’s probably put in his best work in my time with him for this one,” said Sim, who has been working with Burns for the last couple of years. “We’ve been lucky because we’ve had a lot of good, tall southpaws available down where we are. Some box off the back foot and others come forward. In the past the hardest thing for me at times was to stop Ricky from working too hard but we have a programme now and he sticks to it religiously.

“He was training seven days a week when he first came to me but he then had to adapt to my routine and he’s done that."