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Carl Frampton sees similarities between Burnett unification and his own breakthrough night

Carl Frampton believes that Ryan Burnett will have to come through the fire on Saturday night – and it’s an experience that is familiar to ‘The Jackal.’

Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] sees similarities between his own European super bantamweight title win over Kiko Martinez back in 2013 at the Odyssey, and Burnett’s IBF-WBA bantamweight unification with Zhanat Zhakiyanov this Saturday at the same venue.

Burnett [17(9)-0] tops a Sky Sports bill, the second in the city in four months, this Saturday against the Kazakh former gym-mate and there are certain echos of a star-making night in Belfast on February 9th 2013.

Here Frampton, another former gym mate of Burnett, was pushed extremely hard by Martinez before eventually scoring a one-punch knockout in the ninth round of what was his final fight under the Matchroom banner.

A fight which many pinpoint as the result which saw Frampton turn into a transcendent Belfast boxing megastar, the rest as they say is history for the Tigers Bay man who makes his own return to the ring at the Odyssey on November 18th.

While the scale may be bigger for Burnett, Frampton feels there are Kiko parallels in terms of the style of opponent and the sort of step-up.

The 30 year old two-weight world champion described in his weekly column for the Sunday Life that Ryan Burnett’s world title unification bout with Zhanat Zhakiyanov this Saturday night in Belfast reminds me of my first fight with Kiko Martinez.”

“I know the physical and mental strain I went through in that clash and I suspect Ryan must be prepared for a similar experience.”

“Up to this point Ryan has pretty much dominated opponents so this will be a bit of a gut check.”

“I was taking a big step up in class when I faced Kiko in 2013 and came through it, but I was exhausted afterwards.”

Detailing the similarities between the two road-warriors, Frampton noted how “Zhakiyanov has that same all-out attacking style just like Kiko, he never takes a backward step and he’s as hard as nails.”

“Zhanat is quite predictable and not the fastest bantamweight in the world, similar to Kiko, but he is relentless and he showed that in how he fought back from being on the deck to beat Rau’shee Warren who would be a danger to anyone in that division in the world.”

Frampton believes trainer Adam Booth will have a big role to play if the Antrim Road 25 year old is to become Ireland’s second unified champ – after ‘The Jackal’ himself.

There are going to be moments when Ryan will find himself under extreme pressure and that’s why I think that his coach Adam Booth will have a very big role to play because he’ll have to keep him calm and get him through those rough moments, keeping him focused on his gameplan.

“This is Ryan’s most difficult fight by some distance.”

Giving his prediction, Frampton is backing his former training partner to do the business – but doesn’t think it will be easy.

The Ulsterman outlined how “ultimately I think it’s going to be a close decision on the cards but I believe Ryan will do it and it would be a great achievement of become a unified world champion in only his 18th professional fight.”

“I believe Ryan Burnett will become a unified world champion in Belfast on Saturday.”

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


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