Promoter Eddie Hearn has spoken of “rolling the dice,” many on the outside have looked at it as a notably tough assignment, and Ryan Burnett [16(9)-0] knows he has to jump on his opportunity next month.
The Belfast bantamweight will challenge IBF champion Lee Haskins [34(14)-3(3)] at the SSE Odyssey Arena on Saturday June 10th, and Burnett is up for the challenge.
Burnett, who won and defended the British title against Jason Booth and Ryan Farrag, is making a substantial jump in level for this fight. However, it’s a jump the London-based 24 year old is more than willing to take.
Speaking at the press conference to launch the card at the Europa Hotel in Belfast yesterday, Burnett noted that “I didn’t enter this here game just to play a part in it, I entered to become world champion.”
“Now I’m here and the opportunity has came, when hard work meets opportunity, you’ll see a new champion.”
The opposition is tougher than any before, and the scale of the event is much bigger too. Burnett headlines his first card next month, returning home after fights all around England over the past three and a half years.
Again, this prominent homecoming slot is something which is welcomed by Burnett who feels at ease in centre stage
“It’s been a few years,” he admitted. “But like Eddie said, he needed a big fight to get me back here. He said we’ll have Ryan Burnett in a big fight, and he’s delivered, I’m fighting in a world title fight now, he’s delivered that big fight for me. ”
“He’s opened the door and, to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In Haskins he faces an awkward, experienced opponent, and Burnett knows he’s in for a fight. The North Belfast man however believes that, with trainer Adam Booth in his corner, he can unlock the tricky Bristolian.
On Haskins, he stated “how could you not have respect for the guy? He’s only been beaten once in nine years, he’s world champion, he’s defended his world title, and it would be silly for me not to respect that.”
“I’ve fought a few southpaws in my career already, I know how to adapt to them. If you look at Adam Booth’s track record, him and his fighters have fought some world class southpaws.”
“Adam knows what he’s doing, he’s got a boxing brain. He’s not one of the best coaches in the world for nothing.”
“He knows exactly what he’s doing, so I’ve every faith in Adam that, what he’s teaching in the gym and how to deal with Haskins, will prevail on the night.”
The undercard next month features Feargal McCrory, Matt Wilton, Padraig McCrory, Paul Hyland Jr, James Tennyson, Sean Magee, Tyrone McCullagh, and Paddy Gallagher.
Tickets cost £30, £40, £60, £100, and £150 (VIP), and can be bought from the boxers involved or HERE.
Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 4 of The Irish Boxing Show