Juan Orengo, promoter of unbeaten Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez [16(11)-0], has declared that he wants his charge to fight the Irishman by the end of the year, or at the start of 2018 should Burnett be involved in a unification next.
Antrim Road fighter Burnett [17(9)-0] won the title last month, dominating former champ Lee Haskins at the SSE Odyssey Arena, knocking him down twice in the process and taking a wide points win. Haskins had been granted a special exception to make a voluntary defence against Burnett, meaning that a mandatory defence must come next.
The only way this can be circumnavigated would be if 25 year old Burnett were to enter into a unification fight with one of the 118lbs division’s three other champions – Zhanat Zhakiyanov (WBA), Zolani Tete (WBO), or Shinsuke Yamanaka (WBC).
Burnett’s promoter, Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, has said that Kazakh Zhakiyanov, who formerly trained alongside Burnett under Ricky Hatton, is the prefered option, with an October date eyed.
Fresh Productions boss Orengo noted that “we’re hoping that’s what Burnett’s team is finally going to do, because if they’re not going to unify, then they have to fight Manny, who is the mandatory challenger.”
“The IBF rules give priority to a unification bout over a mandatory fight and we are just waiting for our chance either between the months of October and November or towards the beginning of 2018,” said Juan Orengo, promoter of Fresh Productions.
Rodriguez, who won 2010 Youth Olympic gold at 51kg while Burnett claimed top prize at 48kg, keeps busy in a ten rounder at the Coliseo Ecuestre Municipal in Puerto Rico on August 5th.
Burnett is currently enjoying some down time following his world title win as he recovers from facial surgery.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)