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Burnett gets Belfast world title fight with Haskins

Ryan Burnett's last fight in his home city was back in November 2014 against Valentin Marinov at The Devenish, his first under current trainer, Adam Booth Ryan Burnett's last fight in his home city was back in November 2014 against Valentin Marinov at The Devenish, his first under current trainer, Adam Booth
By David Mohan

A WORLD title homecoming has been confirmed for Ryan Burnett who will challenge Lee Haskins for the IBF bantamweight title at the SSE (formerly Odyssey) Arena on June 10.

The Newington man who boasts a perfect professional record of 16 wins in as many contests, has not boxed in his home city since November 2014 when, in his first fight under trainer Adam Booth, he blasted out Valentin Marinov in one round at The Devenish.

Since then, the 24 year-old has been on the road with the majority of his fights taking place in England, although there were also wins in Dublin and New York as Burnett picked up WBO European, WBC International and British bantamweight titles along the way.

However, it is the world title he craves and the North Belfast man will get his chance on home turf in June against Bristol’s Haskins who picked up the strap with an impressive sixth round stoppage win over Ryosuke Iwasa in 2015 and has defended the crown twice with points wins over Ivan Morales in May and Stuart Hall in September.

33 year-old Haskins (34-3) will provide the stiffest test of Burnett’s career, but the Olympic Youth gold medalist believes the home crowd will roar him to victory on the night.

“I always dreamed of headlining in Belfast and now I have the opportunity to do it for a World Title – I’m so excited,” said Burnett.

“Home advantage is going to be massive. I’ve been in the opposite corner when I fought Ryan Farrag in Liverpool and experienced that side of it. I got a little taste of it when I was on the undercard when Carl Frampton boxed Scott Quigg, when I came out everyone went crazy.

“That felt like a home show. It gives you that extra spring in your step, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in front of my home fans in Belfast. I can’t wait.

“Lee Haskins has been about, he’s been in the game a long time so he’s probably been in this situation before. But the Belfast crowd are proper, they are very passionate for their fighter and will be making plenty of noise on the night for me.

“I’m only 16-0, 24 years old. I’m still new to this level. But this is definitely the right fight for me at this stage of my career. I know I’m capable of stepping up.”

While confident he can get his hands on the IBF title, Burnett is taking nothing for granted and is fully aware he will be facing the toughest test of his career.

“Lee is very good, skillful,” he admits.

“But I know he hasn’t fought anyone like me before and what I bring to the table. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.

“The Faragg fight was one of my tougher tests, I fought the best Faragg. Adam was very happy with how I dealt with it. Looking back, it was a good learning fight for me.

“Haskins vs. Hall was a close fight, I thought Haskins just edged it. It showed a lot of Lee’s character. Boxing under pressure. It wasn’t his best performance. Stuart Hall came with so much tenacity but I believe the right man won on the night.”

It will be extra difficult for Burnett on the night given Haskins’ experience at world level and his southpaw stance, but the Newington man says he will be fully prepared.

“I boxed a southpaw earlier this year in Hull (Joseafat Reyes) and we’ll have plenty of southpaw sparring in the gym,” he explained.

“We’ve already been sparring quite a bit to get me in the correct rhythm so I don’t think the stance will bother me much.

“Adam has been teaching me stuff that I didn’t even know existed. I thought I knew boxing, but when I went with Adam I quickly realised I didn’t know much at all.

“It’s been just over two years since I’ve been working with him. He’s taken away my bad habits and bringing me round to being a world class fighter.”

First details of the undercard will be revealed next Wednesday when the pair come face to face at the launch press conference for the fight.

Tickets will go on sale to Matchroom Fight Pass members on Wednesday May 3, with tickets on general sale the following day (Thursday May 4) – full ticket details will be released soon.


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