CONFIRMED: World Champion Ryan Burnett’s next fight

Ryan Burnett‘s next bout has been confirmed – and the Belfast bantamweight has unfortunately been forced to vacate one of his two world titles.

The Matchroom boxer will defend his WBA 118lbs title, won versus Zhanat Zhakiyanov in October gone, against Venezuelan Yonfrez Parejo [21(10)-2(1)-1] on the massive Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker heavyweight unification undercard, live on pay-per-view, at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday March 31st.

Burnett [18(9)-0] claimed IBF and WBA honours is a fantastic 2017 – however he has had to drop the red IBF belt won first against Lee Haskins in June.

The reason for this is the fact that Burnett has mandatory defences of both belts due. Emmanuel Rodriguez is first in line for a shot at the IBF belt and the Puerto Rican and his team attempted to force Burnett’s hand by calling for immediate purse bids.

It has emerged that the Adam Booth-trained fighter was already in talks with Parejo for a defence of the black WBA belt – as an Interim IBF title fight between Rodriguez and Haskins had been somewhat prematurely called.

However, with Haskins backing out of this proposed bout and Rodriguez switching attention to Burnett, the Antrim Road 25-year-old was forced to drop the IBF belt as a deal with Parejo had already been signed.

That fight has this afternoon been confirmed and Burnett will now make his box office debut next month against the South American.

The clash looks likely to be one of the main undercard fights, if not the chief support bout, on the Joshua-Parker card, ensuring a relatively full stadium and large viewing audience for the Antrim Road man.

Parejo is the #1 ranked fighter with the WBA and will be a big underdog coming into the bout.

In terms of common opponents, Parejo was beaten on a split-decision by Zhakiyanov in Monaco back in 2015. This defeat saw him lose the WBA interim bauble which he had won against Luis Hinojosa – having previously been stopped by Hugo Ruiz for the same belt.

The 31-year-old last fought in September, stopping journeyman Elkin Rosario.


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: