Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Burnett to make up for lost time with fresh start

Ryan Burnett will finally kick off his professional boxing career after months of turmoil.

The Olympic Youth gold medallist hasn't boxed since the Irish senior championships two years ago, after which he decided to turn professional with former World champion Ricky Hatton.

But shortly afterwards, exciting prospect Burnett was rocked when he failed a brain scan and it took the best part of a year to clear up the issue with the British Boxing Board of Control giving him the all-clear following new tests.

Tomorrow night in the Olympia Arena in Liverpool Burnett will finally walk to the ring and throw punches as a professional when he tangles with Hungarian Laszlo Nemesapti in a four rounder.

Burnett admits there were moments when he felt he would never get the chance to box so it is a mixture of relief and excitement that he brings to the ring.

He said: "It's been a long tough road to this point. It's been 14 months since I signed professional so now I just can't wait to get into the ring.

"The last time I boxed was two years ago in the Irish seniors when I lost to Michael Conlan. I lost by a point but I was very disappointed because I thought I won it.

"It didn't make me turn professional, I had already made my mind up that I was going pro. It's a big blow when a doctor is on the phone telling you that you will never box again.

"That was a very dark time for me but I kept going and Ricky Hatton helped me a lot, he kept putting a smile on my face even when I wasn't sure if I would fight again.

"Now I'm ready to go and get that win on Friday. I believe this can be the start of a great journey for me.

"My training has been great and I feel very confident. It's starting to sink in that I'm finally going to box after such a long time so there are a few nerves."

Former World champion Hatton certainly believes his young protege has a very bright future.

"I think Ryan has what it takes to go right to the top," said Hatton, who manages and coaches Burnett.

Also on the bill is Belfast's Irish super-featherweight champion James Tennyson.

Tennyson, 19, should overcome another Hungarian, Imre Nagy to extend his unbeaten record, having won the Irish title a month ago in St Kevin's Hall.

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