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Back to Belfast – Summer return for Ryan Burnett if he can defeat Yonfrez Parejo

It will be Belfast in the Summer if Ryan Burnett [18(9)-0] can successfully defend his WBA bantamweight title tomorrow night.

The Antrim Road fighter defends against mandatory challenger Yonfrez Parejo on the massive Sky Box Office Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker heavyweight unification undercard.

Burnett features in one of the chief support bouts at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, his first world title bout away from Belfast having won and unified IBF and WBA belts last year at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

The slot though is not, as some fear, a sign of things to come and a return date in Belfast – should he win tomorrow – is in the pipeline for the 25-year-old.

“There’s a lot going on in the bantamweight division at the moment, but I haven’t focused on anything bar March 31st,” he told Sky Sports.

“If I win on Saturday, I’ll then focus on what’s next. I will take this belt back to Belfast and I will have another show in Belfast.”

Similarly, promoter Eddie Hearn told BBC NI Sport that Burnett and Matchroom will “hopefully return to Belfast in the Summer.”

Explaining why Burnett is fighting in Cardiff rather than Belfast, the English promoter explained how “it’s all about timing, you’ve got two big stars in Belfast right now, one in Ryan Burnett and one in Carl Frampton. Obviously, Ryan boxed there twice [in 2017] and now Carl returns in April. We didn’t want to go too close to that.”

“We’ll be bringing him home real soon but, for now, it’s all about Cardiff on Saturday.”

Hearn is confident that Burnett will soon become the biggest star in the Titanic City.

He outlined how “we got a hold of Ryan Burnett quite a way down the line in his career. Carl Frampton was built from the get-go in Belfast. I think what Ryan Burnett has on his side is that he’s an outstanding fighter, he’ll fight anyone, he’s a world champion he looks the part, he talks great, he’s an ambassador.”

“I think he can come up on the blindside, especially over in Belfast. Car Frampton, as he approaches the end of his career, Ryan Burnett has plenty of plenty of years left in the tank. ”

“I’d like to bring him back at the end of the Summer. He needs to box at least three times this year, this is the first fight of 2018 for him.”

Hearn had previousy said that Burnett will box in the next season of the World Boxing Super Series.Ā If this is the case, the Irishman’s next fight would be in theĀ quarter-finals of theĀ tournament in September or October, with semi-finals to take place the following January or February [2019].

Burnett though is not overlooking the challenge of Parejo [21(10)-2(1)-1].

The Youth Olympic gold medalist noted how “he’s my mandatory challenger, he’s not in that position for nothing,” said Burnett.

“He comes with a great record, and he’s a great talent himself. When you get to world level boxing, these are the type of fights that come with the territory.

“It is a massive, massive stage. The entire world of boxing is going to be tuning in to watch, and now I’ll have an opportunity to show what I’ve got on the big stage, so I’m very excited for it.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglieminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie