Belfast’s latest fighting son IBF world Super-Bantamweight champ Ryan Burnett has landed a unification SUPER-FIGHT against WBA world Super-Bantamweight champ Zhanat Zhakiyanov at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday October 21, televised live across the UK on SKY Sports.
Burnett wrenched the IBF strap from Lee Haskins in June in an epic night for Belfast fight fans at the SSE Arena and will put his prized belt on the line and make history in the process with Northern Ireland’s first ever unification fight showdown.
“I’m very, very excited!” Burnett told DAILY SPORT Boxing. “This is the path I’ve always believed in and asked for – to be not just a World champion but a great World champion and this is exactly the fight that propels me into that position. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve done a lot of work with him in sparring but back then I was a kid and hardly had any fights and he was fighting for the European title. I know what it’s like to share a ring with him but he doesn’t know what it’s like to share a ring with the current Ryan Burnett. A lot has changed since we last sparred for me but not with him. It’s good to have that bit of knowledge, I know a few things about him. That can only work in my favour.
“The Belfast fans have really took a shine to me especially since my last fight, everything has taken off and I’m just looking forward to getting back to the SSE Arena with a packed house behind me.”
“I’ve won against all title holders that my management team put in front of me,” said Ricky Hatton trained Zhakiyanov. “In Switzerland in 2011, in Sheffield in against Karim Guerfi, in Vraza against Hector Guzman, in Monaco against Yonfrez Parejo and in Ohio against Warren. Ryan Burnett will not be different from what I’ve always achieved.”
“I’m so proud firstly to be part of history in bringing this huge unification to Belfast but also of Ryan Burnett for taking on this huge challenge,” promoter Eddie Hearn told DAILY SPORT Boxing. “Following his great win against Haskins for the title, it would have been so easy to come back to Belfast with a standard defence but Ryan want to be great and make history and this fight against Zhakiyanov can do just that. It’s a brilliant fight and it’s going to be a special night on October 21 – fight fans can expect an epic main event and a stacked card whether watching in the SSE or live on Sky Sports.”
DAILY SPORT says – If Burnett can pull this one off and make history it will pave the way for the #BatteOfBelfast and a SUPER FIGHT against fellow Belfast fighter Carl Frampton subject to former IBF and WBA world Super-Bantamweight champion dropping back down to the Super-Bantamweight.