Friday 15 December 2017

Ryan Burnett set for historic Belfast unification bout in October

10 June 2017; Ryan Burnett during his IBF World Bantamweight Championship bout with Lee Haskins at the Boxing in Belfast in the SSE Arena, Belfast. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
10 June 2017; Ryan Burnett during his IBF World Bantamweight Championship bout with Lee Haskins at the Boxing in Belfast in the SSE Arena, Belfast. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Ireland’s Ryan Burnett will face Zhanat Zhakiyanov from Kazakhstan in an historic unification clash for the IBF and WBA Super World Bantamweight titles at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday October 21, live on Sky Sports.

Burnett secured the IBF crown from Lee Haskins in impressive style in June at the SSE Arena and puts the title on the line in the first unification fight to be held in Northern Ireland.

The unbeaten Belfast talent faces a stiff examination if he’s to land the WBA strap in the form of Zhakiyanov, the 30-year-old Kazakh trained by British legend Ricky Hatton, who is fresh from an impressive February win over Rau’shee Warren in his backyard in Ohio to claim the title.

"I’m very, very excited!" said Burnett.

"This is the path I’ve always believed in and asked for – to be not just a World champion but a great World champion and this is exactly the fight that propels me into that position. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

"I’ve done a lot of work with him in sparring but back then I was a kid and hardly had any fights and he was fighting for the European title. I know what it’s like to share a ring with him but he doesn’t know what it’s like to share a ring with the current Ryan Burnett.

"A lot has changed since we last sparred for me but not with him. It’s good to have that bit of knowledge, I know a few things about him. That can only work in my favour.

"The Belfast fans have really took a shine to me especially since my last fight, everything has taken off and I’m just looking forward to getting back to the SSE Arena with a packed house behind me."

"I’ve won against all title holders that my management team put in front of me," said Zhakiyanov.

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