FORMER British and Commonwealth champion Willie Limond returns to the ring this week at the age of 40 with his sights set on an all-Scots showdown with Ricky Burns.

Limond, who hasn’t fought since December 2016, takes on Nathan Hardy at the St Andrew’s Sporting Club with a view to landing some big fights before he retires.

The super-lightweight has faced world champions Amir Khan, Erik Morales, Anthony Crolla and Alex Arthur during an impressive 20-year professional career and now wants to take on another in the shape of Burns.

“I’d love to get in the ring with Ricky and that fight would still sell,” he said. “The Scottish public would go for that in a big way, I’ve no doubts about that.

“I’ve wanted to fight Ricky for years. There’s a time when it would have been a lot better for both of us but if we wait another longer I’m going to have to go into the ring with my Zimmer frame!

“I remember sitting in the same room as Ricky after I’d won the British title [against Curtis Woodhouse in 2014] and [manager and promoter] Alex Morrison asked, 'what about you two fighting?'

“And I said yes but Ricky said no, although he’ll probably deny that now. He said he was wanting to move down to lightweight but then he ended up fighting Michele di Rocco for the world title at super lightweight. So that was frustrating.

“But we can still make it happen. I like Ricky and respect him and if he’s a businessman he’ll know this can still be a good fight for the two of us.

“I’d like another five fights in the next year and then I might call it a day. Ricky would the ideal target but I’d also like a crack at Conor Benn. I’ve messaged [promoter] Eddie Hearn to tell him that.”

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Limond admits he had grown weary of boxing but revealed training with his sons Jake, 15, and Drew, 13, has helped reignite his enthusiasm.

“I never officially retired but I lost the passion for the game for a while,” he admitted. “I just couldn’t be bothered with a few things and my heart wasn’t in it. I was a bit scunnered when guys who turned me down ended up fighting each other for a world title.

“After that I went into training for five different fights but couldn’t get up for it and just decided not to waste anyone’s time.

“So I wandered away from the sport for a while. But then my two boys started boxing and I got the bug back. I’m training them and enjoying working with them so it’s their fault for getting me back into it!

“I’ve been working with Mick Murphy in the Fighting Scots gym in Bellshill. I’ve been training as hard as I’ve ever trained. Mick says he’s the best he’s seen me in years and that’s great to hear.

“I’m just focused on making the weight and then I’ll start to think about the fight. But even in the big fights like Khan or Morales I always went in with the attitude that I was going to win. And this one will be the same.”

The Glasgow boxer, who now works as a personal trainer, says he would never return to promotion or management after the difficulties he endured with his previous business.

“Never in my life will I do that again,” he added. “You try to help people out and it bites you in the backside. I’m not a good businessman that way. I’m just good at dealing with my own situation. Trying to deal with 15 boxers, while training myself and doing my day job – it was just too much. I just had to call it a day.

“But I made sure all the boxers were set up with someone else and didn’t take a penny off any of them. And some of them thriving in the sport now.”