Saturday 21 July 2018

Burnett defends WBA belt with unanimous points win

Ryan Burnett (right) in action against Yonfrez Parejo in Cardiff last night. Photo: PA
Ryan Burnett (right) in action against Yonfrez Parejo in Cardiff last night. Photo: PA

Seán McGoldrick

Ireland's Ryan Burnett reached another milestone in Cardiff's Principality Stadium last night where he successfully defended his World bantamweight title for the first time.

Despite breaking his right hand in the third round, he comfortably outpointed the 31-year-old Venezuelan Yonfrez Parejo after a one-sided contest.

Two of the judges scored the fight 120-108 in favour of the Belfast boxer, which meant he won all 12 rounds.

The third gave him the nod by the narrower margin of 116-112.

"I was just getting into it when I hit him in the third round and I think I broke my hand.

"So I had to use my boxing skills for the rest of the fight," Burnett said afterwards.

"I'm truly blessed to be part of this event.

"I am up for anything.

"I am very fortunate to be in the position I'm in and I'm up for any challenge," he said.

The majority of the 80,000 crowd were in the stadium by the time the Burnett clash got underway. And it began tentatively, as the title holder sized up his opponent while staying out of range of his jab,

But the Irishman landed one decent right hand shot and later momentarily caught Parejo on the ropes.

Burnett seemed intent on not being drawn into a battle and instead insisted on fighting at range, but though he connected with one good left, Parejo's overall aggressiveness might have shaded the round for him.

Referee Terry O'Connor was forced to speak to both fighters early in the third round as Parejo continued to come forward though as the round progressed Burnett's work rate increased.

Burnett again connected with the bigger shots in the fourth as he worked his way into the contest and his left jab was particularly busy.

The power of his shots was beginning to force Parejo to retreat and throw fewer punches.

For such a diminutive figure, Burnett packs huge power, but he seemed to get bored of being on the offensive and twice he invited Parejo to come forward and hit him in the corner - the challenger, however, declined.

Parejo looked an increasingly jaded fighter as the contest reached the halfway point and Burnett continued to pile on the pressure with the Venezuelan slow to get up out of his corner stool for round seven.

Burnett continued to be disciplined and bided his time before going on the attack, but his opponent wasn't offering much in terms of attack, and as in the previous rounds, the champion significantly upped his work rate in the final 30 seconds.

In the championship rounds, there was no discernible change in the pattern of the contest as Burnett continued to land the better punches, though at no stage did Parejo look in real danger of not finishing the fight.

But, the Venezulian he had no answer when Burnett upped the pace and went to work in the last 30 seconds of each round- and just to emphasise his dominance he totally controlled the 12th and final round as he threw caution to the wind.

But, in front of his biggest ever audience and on what was almost certainly the most lucrative night of his career Burnett delivered.

Even though he has fulfilled his ambition of winning a World title and is close to realising his dream of having enough money to buy his own home, the most exciting phase of his career could be about to unfold.

Burnett's promoter Eddie Hearn has indicated that he will be invited to box in the second season of the World Boxing Series which could have a total purse of $25millon and which is restricted by the leading eight bantamweights in the world.

In earlier fights, Burnett's stable mate Josh Kelly and former world champion Anthony Crolla had convincing wins.

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