Confident Ryan Burnett wants Belfast WBSS battle


Ryan Burnett wants to kick off his bid to prove he is the World’s greatest bantamweight in his home town of Belfast.

The WBA bantamweight champion will head to Monaco this Summer, most likely as a seeded fighter, and he wants to bring his opening World Boxing Super Series opponent back to the Titanic City.

One of four names so far confirmed for the second season of the eight-man tournament, the Antrim Road fighter will most likely have a choice of quarter final opponents at the Draft Gala.

Burnett isn’t overly pushed on who the opponent is but is keen that the location of the fight is in his native Belfast and, most likely, the SSE Odyssey Arena.

Burnett is one of three world champions – alongside WBO titlist Zolani Tete and IBF champ Manny Rodriguez – signed up to do battle for a reported $4,000,000 top prize. Also featuring, and current favourite, is unbeaten two-weight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue of Japan.

Tough company, no doubt, but Burnett is sure that he will score three wins that will see him unify the division and solidify himself as Ireland’s greatest fighter of the modern age – if not all time.

Burnett is confident he will appear in and win the final, thus proving he is the main man at a competitive weight, but wants the opener to take place in his hometown before moving onto major arenas in more exotic locations.

The undefeated Youth Olympic gold medallist told Sky Sports that “this is a massive tournament and I’m blessed to be a part of it. I’m very confident of winning the whole thing, I go into every fight very confident.”

“The fans want to see the best vs the best and that’s exactly what will happen in this tournament.”

“I have an incredible team around me and I’m just starting to step into my prime. I’ve just turned 26 so things are good.”

The Adam Booth-trained fighter is currently in the beginnings of camp in London alongside Mick Conlan – who tops his own bill at the Odyssey at the end of this month.

Burnett will be looking to bring boxing back to the atmospheric arena in September or October and he doesn’t care who will be in the opposite corner.

“I definitely want to have the first fight in Belfast.” he stated “I put bums on seats and everyone in the city will be buzzing for such a massive tournament, so I’ll be pushing to get my opener back home.”

“I haven’t really thought about who I’ll face, all the lads in the tournament are incredible fighters, so any of them.”I don’t really have one I’ve picked that I want to face, I’m just confident of beating whoever.”

“It’s incredible really, I grew up watching fighters who inspired me and wanted to be like them. Now, I’m up there and leading the way so to speak.”

The four remaining fighters will be announced in due course. Numerous names have been speculated, including Nonito Donaire, Jason Moloney, Luis Nery, Reymart Gaballo and the winner of the vacant WBC title fight between Nordine Oubaali and Tassana Sanpattan – although, the recent postponement of this bout looks to have ruled the WBC belt out of play for the WBSS and thus prevent the crowning of an undisputed champion.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – 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