Ryan Burnett wants to become a “great world champion” starting with big first defence

Ryan Burnett [17(9)-0] is back in the gym and working towards the first defence of his world title.

Ireland’s only reigning world champion won the IBF bantamweight title last month with a dominant performance against Lee Haskins and now looks set to defend the red belt this Autumn.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has stated that the Sky cameras will return to Belfast on Saturday October 21st, and Burnett has promised that it’s going to be big.

While he couldn’t confirm the opponent, who will be instead revealed next week, Burnett explained that “I know who it is, and it will be announced shortly.”

“I leave that to my team, but we’re coming up with something big.”

“I’m cutting off the pounds, I’ve stopped eating the Dominos Pizzas and I’ve started ticking over again.”

Reflecting on his homecoming title win against Lee Haskins, Burnett explained how “it’s sunk in and I’m happy but, like I’ve been telling people, I’m happy but I’m not satisfied. I want more.”

“I’ve only just turned 25 and I’m already in a great position. I’m a world champion and I’ve only had 17 fights. I’ve always said that I don’t want to be ‘just’ a world champion, I want to be a ‘great’ world champion.”

“With the opportunities coming up now, I’ve got the chance to be a great world champion and, mark my words, I will be a great world champion.”

Burnett, speaking at the public workout for Carl Frampton v Andres Gutierrez yesterday, believes he is perfectly placed to become a great champion and promised that “there’s definitely, definitely the best of Ryan Burnett still to come.”

“You see fighters, they don’t usually become world champion until the age of 27, 28, I think Carl [Frampton] was 27.”

“It’s usually that couple of years older but things have came quick for me. I’m very, very blessed that they have.

“It’s only going to snowball from now. My first fight in the Odyssey was a great success and you can see what Carl’s done, he’s done it brilliant. His career has snowballed from him being in Belfast and now it’s time for my career to head in the same direction.

Before breaking America and becoming a multi-weight world champion though there is a return to Belfast in October, most likely at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

There looks to be two possibilities regarding who will be in the opposite corner, WBA champion and former Burnett stablemate Zhanat Zhakiyanov [28(17)-1(0)] or mandatory challenger Emmanuel Rodriguez [16(11)-0] of Puerto Rico.

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