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Belfast's Ryan Burnett is closing in on British title

By David Kelly

Ryan Burnett's career is ready for lift-off at the Manchester Arena tomorrow night.

The confident 23-year-old Belfast bantamweight has been a professional for two-and-a-half-years, carving up moderate opposition, but now he faces veteran Jason Booth for the vacant British bantamweight title.

Having started off with former world champion Ricky Hatton, Burnett moved on to team up with highly rated coach Adam Booth - the man who guided David Haye to World cruiserweight and heavyweight title glory.

While picking up the WBO European title was a small step forward, lifting the Lonsdale belt in front of the live Sky Sports cameras will raise his profile much further.

An Olympic Youth gold medallist, Burnett is highly regarded by Booth who has stated that Burnett has the ability to climb boxing's summit.

Burnett said: "I am looking forward to Saturday night, it is my first fight under the Matchroom Boxing banner and it provides me with the opportunity to fight for a British title and to have another title belt placed round my waist.

"Jason Booth is an experienced operator and I carry the utmost respect for him, it is going to be a tough fight and that will make it entertaining for the fans.

"I have trained hard for the fight and there can only be one winner and that is going to be me."

As for rival Booth, he's bidding to become a three-weight British champion, having won titles at flyweight and super-bantamweight.

The fight truly does bring together two men at the polar opposite of their careers with 38-year-old Booth insisting he can cause an upset.

"I've got ambitions to be a three-weight British champion and I feel that this is my time to make history," said Booth.

"There is no one in our generation that has won it in three weight classes. I think you would have to go back to the 1940s until the last time it was done.

"Ryan is a decent fighter and so far he's ticking all the boxes. He's with Adam Booth who is a top trainer so I'm expecting the very best from him. I've been trying to get a British title fight all year and it has left me slightly inactive, the last time I boxed was November last year - but look at my record, you can see I don't suffer from ring rust.

"The pressure is all on Ryan as he's touted as the next big thing and people are expecting a lot from him - let's see what he's got and what all the fuss is about.

"I feel in great shape, I'm hitting harder than ever and I'm feeling good.

"I've got plenty in the tank and those that think I'm over the hill are very much mistaken.

"It doesn't bother me being the underdog in this as many will expect Ryan to walk straight through me - but I won't give up without a fight and he's in for a tough evening."

Belfast Telegraph


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