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Darth Burnett planning to let out his “dark side” against Zhanat Zhakiyanov

Ryan Burnett‘s trainer Adam Booth is known as The Dark Lord, and the Belfast bantamweight is ready to channel the power of his own “dark side” next weekend.

IBF champion Burnett looks to annex the WBA strap currently held by former sparring partner Zhanat Zhakiyanov [27(18)-1(0)] at the SSE Odyssey Arena on Saturday October 21st.

The London-based fighter has said numerous times how he is hungry to be more than “just” a world champion, and this imperial march begins against the tough Kazakh with whom he trained with under Ricky Hatton.

It’s been a long road for the 2010 Youth Olympic gold medalist, who was once denied a professional boxing licence and spent time living out of a car with his father.

The Antrim Road 25 year old is planning to draw on all these experiences next Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

Burnett [17(9)-0] explained how “when I was growing up there was a lot of trouble and violence. It was installed into me as a kid to be a fighter, to stand up for myself and fight back, my dad would tell me to keep going even when I was just four or five.”

“It all depends on how people are brought up, how they are tuned to life. What they’ve had to face. I’ve faced tasks that other people haven’t had to face and that’s given me a hunger that a lot of people don’t have.”

“I know I have got that dark side that I can turn to, it’s been in me my whole life.”

The fight will be Burnett’s second headline appearance at the Odyssey following his world title win against Bristol’s Lee Haskins during the Summer.

The Matchroom fighter is looking to build on a solid start made in June, with hopes that the night will be a sell-out – double the amount that attended the Haskins fight.

Burnett, who has been honoured with a mural near his childhood home, described how “it was touch and go in my first fight if it was going to take off because I had been away from Belfast for so long, but it did.”

“This time the profile has risen so much and this is a massive fight, so this is my moment to really become a name here. I’m living in the moment and enjoying it, I’m not taking it too seriously and putting too much pressure on my shoulders, I’m just lapping it all up.”

The card next week also features Paul Hyland Jr v Stephen Ormond, James Tennyson v Darren Traynor, Tyrone McKenna v Renald Garrido, Feargal McCrory, Gary Cully, Davey Oliver Joyce, Tommy McCarthy, Joe Fitzpatrick, Anthony Fowler, and Josh Kelly.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Tickets for the night cost £30, £40, £60, £100, £150 (VIP), and are available from the boxers involved or through HERE

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