Concerned Carl Frampton hopes for voluntary defence for Ryan Burnett

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Carl Frampton has urged caution when it comes to Ireland’s newest, and only current, world champion Ryan Burnett.

North Belfast lad Burnett won the IBF bantamweight title earlier this month with a controlled performance over reigning champ Lee Haskins.

The fight was a voluntary exception defence for Bristolian Haskins, who had previously retained the belt twice. This means that Burnett must now face his Puerto Rican mandatory Emmanuel Rodriguez – unless he secures a unification bout – however Frampton believes that everything should be done to try and provide his former training partner with a voluntary defence.

Frampton, who won the super bantamweight version of the belt back in 2014, wants 25 year old Burnett to continue learning before going in with some of the bigger names in the division – namely the Kazakh WBA champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov.

Writing in his weekly column for the Sunday Life, Frampton warned how “Ryan Burnett gave a very good performance to win the IBF bantamweight title last weekend but now it seems that it will only get harder for him.”

“I would like to see Ryan make a voluntary defence of his title so he can keep learning but because he has the IBF demanding he faces the number one challenger Emmanuel Rodriguez, the only way around that is by having a unification fight.”

“The WBA champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov seems to be the main man in the frame and that will be a really tough fight.”

While Burnett’s promoter Eddie Hearn has indicated his belief that the Ricky Hatton-trained Asian would be an easier fight for Burnett than Haskins, Frampton feels the opposite.

The Jackal noted how “Zhakiyanov outpointed Rau’shee Warren to win the World title and he’s a top fighter so it would be another big jump in class for Ryan.”

“The IBF are normally very strict when it comes to mandatory defences but stranger things have happened and a voluntary defence would be more ideal at this stage of his career because there is a jump between Lee Haskins and someone like Zhakiyanov.”

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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