Odyssey experience has Ryan Burnett ready for Cardiff crowd

The grand stage is no issue and Ryan Burnett [18(9)-0] has promised that Ireland will still be able to boast two reigning world champions come Sunday morning.

The Belfast fighter, who like Bray lightweight Katie Taylor holds a WBA world title, is adamant he will return from one of the biggest boxing events of the year with his black bantamweight belt in tow.

Having won the IBF and WBA belts with SSE Odyssey Arena-hosted wins over Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov in 2017, the 25-year-old fights in an away-from-home world title fight for the first time.

However, he doesn’t seem fazed by the prospect of trading leather with Venezuela’s Yonfrez Parejo, his mandatory challenger, in front of a huge crowd at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff this coming Saturday night on the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker undercard.

The crowd in Wales will be the biggest Burnett has ever fought in front of with up to an eye-watering 80,000 expected to attend the heavyweight unification clash which will be shown on Sky Box Office.

Considering Burnett’s defence is third from the top, just before Alexander Povetkin v David Price, he can expect tens of thousands to be present when makes his way to the ring in Cardiff.

However, with experience of the bear-pit Odyssey atmosphere and the pressures of being a headliner at home, Burnett feels well-prepared to perform on the big stage.

“If I can get through the buzz in Belfast, then 80,000 shouldn’t be a problem!” he told UTV.

The feeling I got in Belfast was incredible, and if I can deal with that then I’ll definitely be able to deal with this.”

“I’m really looking forward to it. I was here for the Joshua-Takam fight, I was in the stadium and I saw the massive crowd. I just feel blessed to be a part of it now and I can’t wait for fight night.”

Burnett is extremely confident and promised that his WBA title “is definitely going back to Belfast, without a shadow of a doubt.”

“I can’t wait. I’m at the point of my career where I expect nothing but the best of myself. [The crowd] can expect to see me at my best.”

“I plan to stay here. Everyone wants a crack at me now which is fair do’s. When you’re at world level, this is what you can expect,” added the Adam Booth-trained fighter.


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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