No bullsh*t – I broke the “bully” before and I will break him again says Burnett ahead of ZZ clash

Ryan Burnett used visualisation techniques in the build up to his successful IBF world title win over Lee Haskins, but might not have to consult the same approach as he bids to join Carl Frampton in the Irish unified world champion history books on October 21st.

Burnett [17(9)-0] suggests has seen first-hand what will happen when he renews acquaintances with the WBA title holder in Belfast at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

The IBF champion and Zhanat Zhakiyanov [27(18)-1(0)] were former gym mates and sparring partners before Burnett left Ricky Hatton and Manchester for London and Adam Booth.

Their past relationship is an interesting angle going into the fight, and Burnett believes that everything is in his favour in this regard.

Speaking to media at the first press conference for the fight yesterday at the Europa Hotel, Burnett recalled how “It was five years ago since we sparred. Back in those days I was 19 or 20 and I hadn’t matured yet. On the other hand he was a mature man at the age of 27 fighting for a European title.”

“So if that sparring is going to play into anyone’s hands it’s going to be mine. He doesn’t know what I am about. He doesn’t know the skill set I have developed.”

“To be honest I haven’t seen him change at all since we sparred so I think that will play into my hands.

The Antrim Road man then revealed that he broke the Kazakh during one session.

Burnett outlined how “he is a strong man with a come forward bully mentality, but everyone knows what happens when you put a bully on the back foot.”

“I have seen him break. I broke him in sparring. I am not bullshitting anyone here, I saw him break in sparring when I was a kid and if you break once you will break twice.”

The impression being given is that it is going to be an aggressive fight in just over seven weeks time, with both fighters being able to get physical. Even now, Burnett still bears the scars of his last war, a big gash on his forehead sustained when he won the title against Haskins in June.

The cut will cause no issue though, and he reassured how “I recovered very quick. I had surgery done and everything went to plan. It’s all went well.”

“I was sparring the other day and I took a few digs in the head – which I’d rather not – but everything was fine and it held up.”

The Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard features Paul Hyland v Stephen Ormond, Tyrone McKenna v Tommy Coyle, James Tennyson v Darren Traynor, Feargal McCrory, Jay Byrne, and Josh Kelly, with more still to be announced.

Tickets for the night cost £30, £40, £60, £100, £150 (VIP), and are available from the boxers involved or through HERE

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frayne carpentry

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: