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Lee Haskins relishing '50-50' Belfast clash with Ryan Burnett

Lee Haskins has vowed to avoid complacency and prove he has not declined when he defends his IBF bantamweight title against Ryan Burnett.

The 33-year-old faces his third challenger on Saturday, at Belfast's Odyssey Arena, having been considered fortunate by many observers to have defeated his last, Stuart Hall.

In September against Hall - a fighter Haskins had previously beaten convincingly - the champion struggled to convince in the process of securing a controversial unanimous decision.

With the 25-year-old Burnett he is not only travelling to his opponent's home town but fighting a man considered the successor to Carl Frampton, yet Haskins insists it is that challenge that has inspired him and ensured he will prove himself again.

Bristol's Haskins has long been one of Britain's most underrated fighters, and he said: "When I feel like I have a 50-50 fight in front of me, I put a lot extra into the training and I want it more.

"When you're fighting people you've beaten before, or you know you can beat, you ease up in training, let yourself slip a little bit, and pay for it on the night.

"I've got a great opponent in front of me: this is a 50-50 fight. Before I even knew I was fighting him I thought, 'He's a fantastic fighter and one to watch in the future'.

"I've had an amazing time in camp; I'm happy, in a great place. I've a great family and I want to keep providing for them, and the best way to do that is obviously by winning."

It is against opponents such as Japan's Ryosuke Iwasa that Haskins has most excelled, and his manager Chris Sanigar said: "Our man will win the first six rounds, he'll lose the seventh and the eighth; nine, 10 and 11 he'll win, and then he's just so lazy he'll let the 12th go."

While comparisons between Frampton and Burnett are the most common, the undefeated challenger is presented with the chance to win a world title in only his 17th fight, like another world bantamweight champion from Belfast, Wayne McCullough.

Like Frampton, McCullough is considered one of Ireland's finest fighters, and Burnett said: "It's a dream of mine to get back to Belfast and fight here, and for a world title. I'm fighting a very, very good world champion, so that's going to make the night even sweeter for me.

"Every single night when I'm laying in bed I'm thinking about the belt, about winning, how I'm doing it, how it's going to feel. I've thought about it over and over, seen it clearly over and over.

"To win I'm going to have to be at my very, very best: I know exactly the man standing in front of me on the night. You can't dress it up: he's a great champion and been beaten once in nine years, which speaks volumes."

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