Eddie Hearn quashes rumours that Burnett v Zhakiyanov unification has been blocked

Eddie Hearn has come out this afternoon to dismiss rumours that Ryan Burnett‘s big bantamweight world title fight with Zhanat Zhakiyanov will not be the unification that it was initially announced to be.

IBF champion Burnett [17(9)-0], in his first defence, will attempt to unify with WBA titlist Zhakiyanov [27(18)-1(0)], who also making his first defence.

The fight takes place, live on Sky Sports, at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Saturday October 21st.

Talk this morning, stemming from the camp of IBF mandatory challenger Emmanuel Rodriguez [17(12)-0], claimed that the IBF had blocked the unification as Burnett had to face the Puerto Rican.

The Caribbean fighter has been the designated mandatory challenger since before the Summer, but former champion Lee Haskins was granted a special exception to defend, and lose, the red belt to the #14 ranked Burnett.

In the aftermath of the Belfast boxer’s win in June, promoter Hearn stated that Burnett had two options, to defend against Rodriguez or unify.

Rodriguez’s team however, in talking to reputable writer Julius Julianis, believe that they will get a shot at the vacant IBF belt on October 28th.

Social media took hold of the talk, but Matchroom boss Hearn has stated that these claims are “not correct” and that the winner of Burnett v Zhakiyanov must defend the belts against Rodriguez “within 90 days,” bringing us up to January 19th 2018.

There is of course the possibility that the winner of the October 21st clash immediately vacates the IBF belt and allows Rodriguez to fight for it one week later, however the history-making first unification ever to take place in Ireland is still on.

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