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Booth: Ryan Burnett is in a perfect place to handle the mayhem

Belfast warrior is primed for Zhakiyanov's fire

By David Kelly

It is often quipped that fighters make trainers, but it would come as no surprise at the SSE Arena tonight that by the end of 12 energy-sapping rounds Adam Booth's reputation is enhanced even further.

Recognised as one of the elite in his profession, Booth has become a mentor for IBF World bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett and would not place his charge in the firing line of a tank-like opponent if he did not feel it was a risk worth taking.

Undoubtedly WBA World bantamweight champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov is by some distance the most dangerous fighter that Belfast man Burnett has faced. He may not have the technical skills of the other top bantameights on the planet, but what he lacks in guile the 33-year-old from Kazakhstan more than makes up for with a pathological desire for victory.

His coach, former world champion Ricky Hatton, will have Zhakiyanov salivating at the prospect of battle with Burnett as the sound of the first bell draws ever closer.

In the opposite corner Booth and Burnett will be prepared for 24-carat hostility.

"He's in a perfect place for the mayhem that will ensue on Saturday night. He has been tested mentally, emotionally and physically more than he has in any other camp," said Booth.

"There were times when we came home and had doubts and shut himself in his bedroom because of how hard I had to make it for him. He had to go through that but as I say, feed your fate and starve your doubt and he has done that as much as he possibly could have.

"This week he has been perfect not thinking about the fight, we have just been having a laugh and enjoying it.

"You could have 100 fights but not have an understanding of what is going and what is important leading up to a fight like this. Ryan has only had 17 fights but his maturity is beyond that. I've done enough of these myself to know that it's all about Saturday night so I don't invest any energy in anything else.

"Ryan's a developing fighter. To be a developing fighter and a world champion is a big thing.

"This is the type of test he needs to show him that he is going to become the fighter that he wants to be. All fighters have to lie to themselves because of the nature of what they do.

"They have to convince themselves and use their imagination to see how they will win a fight but having done it then it's different, they see oh right I am here, I have done this - this is where I belong."

Burnett (25) says he has already visualised standing in the middle of the ring with the belts over either shoulder. He is is prepared for the firestorm.

"I know what to expect Zhanat, everyone knows the way he fights and after the camp I've had I know that I'm ready," said Burnett.

"When I won the world title in June I was happy for a moment but then I just felt 'this isn't enough' I want more. Some people wouldn't have taken this fight but I'm a champion and champion's fight the best."

Indeed they do and Burnett should triumph after 12 blood-spilled rounds in which his mettle will be severely tested.

Belfast Telegraph

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