Burnett ready to put on a show as he eyes 2017 world title shot
A this time last year Ryan Burnett was preparing to put pen to paper on a deal with top promoter Eddie Hearn. Expectations were high on both sides, but the fanfare has dimmed a little - and that is something the Belfast man is eager to rectify this Saturday night.
Burnett has had three straight victories under Hearn's Matchroom banner including picking up the British bantamweight title but an eye-catching performance has eluded him and he continues to wait for an opportunity to headline in Belfast.
On Saturday night his silky smooth skills will be put to the test against Ryan Farrag, a no-nonsense former European champion whose style should gel well with that of the former Olympic Youth gold medallist, who is managed and coached by Adam Booth in London.
Currently there seems to be a queue of fighters forming behind the Northern Ireland standard bearer Carl Frampton as to who will follow his lead and find themselves topping shows in Belfast and drawing the fans in huge quantities in the years ahead. It is no easy task, but Burnett is determined to find himself at the SSE Arena next year in a world title fight.
There is no doubt that Hearn has the power to deliver major title fights for Burnett, who is currently ranked 18th by the WBC, but before that the 24-year-old wants to prove he can bring the electricity to the ring that every promoter yearns for - starting against Farrag.
"I want to show people what I'm really all about, I want the fans to see that. It has been frustrating that I haven't done that yet but now I have an opponent that will bring out the best in me," said Burnett, who will be fighting in Farrag's backyard in Liverpool's Echo Arena on the supporting bill to WBC World cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew.
"I want to be fighting for a major world title in Belfast, and this is a fight that can show everyone that I deserve that chance. He's going to put me under pressure and come with the hunger and belief that he's there to win. That will give me more opportunities to show my best, to show people what I've got.
"I have been developing a lot in the camps that I've had, learning and understanding how I want to be as a fighter - learning from Adam about what boxing is all about, and I have a lot more to learn from Adam."
Farrag is equally confident that he can triumph this weekend and propel himself back into the European title mix with the Lonsdale belt around his waist.
"It's a good fight for me, this is the level I wanted to go straight back into anyway," says Farrag, who lost his European title to Frenchman Karim Guerfi in June before enjoying a routine victory over Elvis Guillen last month.
"Ryan hasn't really been tested in my eyes so we'll find out what he's about on October 15th. He's a big Matchroom fighter but he's coming here to Liverpool to defend that belt and I'm just going to take it off him."
Burnett is adamant that he will not allow Farrag to dent his world title aspirations and hopes of returning to Belfast for a major fight.
"I can't afford to lose... in my mind to lose would finish me, it would put me right down the ladder and I have done everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen. I want that world title fight in 2017 so I can't afford any slip-ups.
"The previous guys I fought realised they couldn't beat me after a few rounds and then they were just happy to survive, this guy will be different and I can't wait for the fight."