If Carl Frampton is the latest boxing great to come out of Belfast, Ryan Burnett is ready to become the biggest name to go back into the boxing capital of Ireland.
Burnett looks set for a late April return to the Odyssey Arena and will bring the Sky Camera’s with him to the city as his team plot a World title assault.
The talented WBO European, British and WBC International title holder, who has fought twice in Belfast, got a taste for what it was like to have the backing of your city when he appeared on the undercard of the massive Frampton versus Quigg card.
The 12,000 strong Jackal army lent their support to the Matchroom prospect as they awaited the arrival of Irish boxing’s leading man Frampton in Manchester on Saturday night.
They watched as he defeated the experienced Anthony Settoul in impressive fashion and although the 24 year old admitted he is starting to like the Manchester Arena after making it three title victories on the trot in the Stadium he has his sights set on becoming a big and well supported star in his home town.
“I’m very happy. Three fights in a row, all title fights, in the same place so this is starting to become my new favourite place,” Burnett said before addressing the atmosphere and his ambitions to become a Belfast star.
“It’s looking that way, ” he said when asked if Manchester was becoming Burnett’s Den, “But soon I’ll be taking over Belfast. Believe it.
“To come into this arena tonight and get a taste of Belfast… as soon as I got in the ring and raised up my arms the crowd roared and I’ve never felt anything like that before. It just makes me want to jump back into the ring and raise my arms again!”
Burnett has long since been viewed as a fighter who could follow in the footsteps of his friend Carl Frampton. The bantamweight boasts a strong amateur background, has bags of talent and a style that is easy on the eye.
He is now nicely positioned to mount an assault on a World title, but there remains a feeling with just 13 fights under his belt his team feel he needs to bank some more experience.
Burnett agrees trading leather a fighter like Settoul on such a massive stage on Saturday night will certainly stand to the prospect.
“It was a step up in class for me. I think I handled it well and it was exactly what I needed, a fighter like that. Adam was very happy with me and the way I boxed and if Adam is happy then I’m happy,” said the Belfast fighter.
“I was comfortable with a guy who wanted to put it on me and I felt as if I dealt with his ability very well.”
“I didn’t think he went into survival mode, I think his experience played a part. He knew he had to box safe or else he’d get knocked out. I think that’s what he done. He was here to win, he wanted to win, and that’s exactly what I needed.”
Having been asked to take his foot of the gas to bank rounds against Jason Booth last time out, Burnett would have loved to secure a knockout on the Sky PPV bill last Saturday night, but wasn’t overly upset the stoppage never materialised.
“Yeah, I wanted to finish him but I was in with a guy who was no mug. He knew exactly what to do, he was hurt but he didn’t show nothing to it. If I could’ve finished him of course I would’ve finished him but I was in with a good guy and he proved that he was a good guy because I couldn’t finish him.”