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Burnett will seize chance to shine on big stage: Booth

 

By David Kelly

Top coach Adam Booth is confident that Belfast man Ryan Burnett will not fluff his lines when he walks onto his biggest stage so far this Saturday night.

Burnett steps up from domestic level to face IBF World bantamweight champion Lee Haskins at Belfast's SSE Arena and Booth, who was behind the rise of former World heavyweight champion David Haye, insists that we have yet to see the very best of the 25-year-old challenger, who is unbeaten in 16 bouts.

Despite landing the British title and defeating former European champion Ryan Farrag in a defence of the Lonsdale belt, Burnett has yet to give a truly eye-catching display, but Booth expects it against crafty Haskins.

"There's a lot that I have seen that the public have not seen. I've seen world-class fighters in higher weight classes sparring Ryan and him making it one-sided," said Booth.

"I've seen him dominate, but that's the gym... you've got to do it with eight ounce gloves on under the spotlight and he hasn't quite translated that yet.

"But you know at championship level there is more of a known element than when you're fighting guys just below that so that allows you to box to your potential.

"Lee Haskins has found who he is at this level, so in this fight more than any other we're going into more of a known level.

"I try not to live by those brackets of British level or European level because if you're the best in Britain then you're one of the top three or four in Europe, and if you're the best in Europe you're top 10 in the world. I see both of these fighters as top 10 in the world.

"I see it as an even match-up between someone who has boxed at championship level for a long time and done it the hard way against someone who has always been phenomenally talented stepping up for his test, that's what it is.

"Nobody knows what level Ryan Burnett can go to yet because he hasn't been asked the question yet.

"We know what level Lee Haskins can go to... I'm confident that I know where Ryan can get to and that he will answer the questions asked of him in this fight."

For all the talent that Burnett possesses, Booth knows that it is likely he will have to rely on more than simply his boxing tools to carve out World title glory on Saturday night.

"Ryan is crazy competitive. When we do track sessions and he does them with quality fighters, he will not let anyone be in front of him on the track... he lives with me in England and if we're loading the dishwasher he will compete how he can load it better than me, it's funny - but as a coach you want that element in your fighter," added Booth.

"We just need to control that... I say all the time that fire can cook your food, keep you alive when cold, but if you don't control it then it will burn and kill you."

Meanwhile, champion Haskins has arrived in Belfast for the third defence of his title by ferry due to his fear of flying.

"I'm not the greatest on planes so we chose to get the ferry over," said 33-year-old Bristol man Haskins.

"My family and I decided to go a bit earlier and make more of a trip of it.

"It's not too far so it gives me and the kids a bit of time to catch-up and it's something different, rather than just jumping off a plane straight into the hotel. Now we get to have a little detour and have a little adventure.

"It's going to be a hostile crowd but truthfully it doesn't bother me. I've boxed away time and time again so I know what's coming. I've boxed in Monaco, Belgium and Morocco and in plenty of backyards in the UK. It doesn't bother me, a ring is a ring."

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