World champ Ryan Burnett’s next fight to be announced tomorrow

The dotted line has been signed for the first defence of Ryan Burnett‘s IBF bantamweight title.

Ireland’s only current reigning world champion, as was announced by promoter Eddie Hearn last month, will defend his belt on Saturday October 21st in Belfast.

Tonight Hearn has confirmed that, as assumed, the fight will take place at the SSE Odyssey Arena, where Burnett [17(9)-0] won the red belt in June

While all has been confirmed, the identity of the man in the opposite corner is yet to be revealed – with a formal announcement due at some stage tomorrow, live on Sky Sports News.

A unification with WBA 118lbs champion and former gym mate Zhanat Zhakiyanov [27(18)-1(0)] is believed to be the frontrunner, and was claimed to be the intended opponent last week by rival promoter Frank Warren.

The Queensberry chief had attempted to hijack this plan, with a financially appealing offer to face his fighter, WBO champion Zolani Tete [25(20)-3(1)] – however it does not seem likely that this bid was accepted.

Another option, indeed seemingly the only other option bar WBC champ Shinsuke Yamanaka, is a mandatory defence against Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez [16(11)-0]. However, the fact that Hearn has described how Burnett will be “making history,” it does not look like it will be the Caribbean boxer.

Burnett won the title on June 10th at the Odyssey, dropping and dethroning Bristolian Lee Haskins with a dominant twelve-round performance.

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, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: