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Burnett has the talent to become so much better, raves former World champion


By David Kelly

Former World champion Dave McAuley has joined the fan club of rising star Ryan Burnett.

Belfast man Burnett impressed McAuley with the manner in which he handled the threat of Zhanat Zhakiyanov at the SSE Arena, adding the Kazak's WBA title to his IBF World bantamweight belt.

Having become a unified world champion after just 18 professional bouts, McAuley feels there is a great deal more to come from the 25-year-old.

"That was a big step up for Burnett on Saturday night and I was really impressed with how he went about beating Zhakiyanov," said McAuley.

"I had seen that guy take the WBA World title from the American Raushee Warren, who the Yanks were raving about, so I knew how dangerous he was and how tough he was. So, to see Burnett stand with him and beat him at his own game was very impressive.

"He could have made life easier for himself by boxing more from range because when he did have a bit of distance he had a lot of success. But credit to him because he fought really well close up.

"I just think now that he will only improve and I believe he can go on and be a much, much better fighter. You can see that he has the talent to improve a lot. Even just being a unified world champion after 18 fights shows you what he's made of."

Local manager Pat Magee also hailed Burnett's display.

"I thought it was a brilliant performance from Ryan and he's going to be very hard to beat at bantamweight," said Magee.

"We all knew beforehand that it was going to be a tough test but Ryan proved that he could fight when needed and box when he had to. He looks to have no weaknesses."

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