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I'll show the world what I can do on Joshua v Parker undercard: Burnett

 

By David Kelly

Ryan Burnett has had to learn the hard - and quick - way on the path to World title glory and tomorrow night he expects another testing time.

Burnett's WBA World bantamweight title defence against Venezuelan Yonfrez Parejo is part of the 80,000 sell-out show at Cardiff's Principality Stadium headed by WBA/IBF title holder Anthony Joshua's intriguing World heavyweight title clash with WBO champion Joe Parker.

The Belfast man retained his IBF title and won the WBA belt when defeating Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast's SSE Arena last October in a gruelling encounter that saw Burnett rushed to hospital after complaining of headaches following the 12-rounder.

The IBF title, won just four months prior to the Zhakiyanov fight, has been relinquished and Burnett now meets Parejo, ranked second in the WBA and with a record of 21 wins, two defeats and a solitary draw.

"Yonfrez Parejo's record speaks for itself, he's no mug and the mandatory challenger for a reason. I've got a good fight on my hands but I feel my style will be all wrong for him and I'll be able to do exactly what I need to do to retain my World title," said Burnett, who trains in London with top coach Adam Booth.

"He's been in with Zhanat Zhakiyanov as well but I haven't watched that fight funny enough. Adam Booth tells me exactly what I need to do.

"I have to be on it from the opening bell, it's the biggest fight of his career with a World title at stake. I know the hunger I had to win my first World title which no doubt he'll also have firing in his stomach.

"It was a massive fight back in October. To unify two World titles against such a solid fighter in Zhanat was a proud achievement. It was an incredible night, a special show that will live long in the memory.

"As a champion you have to learn with every situation and being in with Lee Haskins and Zhanat in my last two fights has helped me tick off two very different styles which will help my development moving forward.

"I know I can box against both of those types of styles which has given me further confidence. I've only had 18 fights, so I think I'm doing pretty well.

"During the last fight I did my neck ligaments, I felt them go slightly in the fight but the adrenaline is going so much mixed with the focus and crowd interaction - you can get through it. After the fight and everything settled down I felt it quite a bit.

"Before that, in the Haskins fight, I split my face open and now have a permanent reminder of my first World title achievement. Getting such a bad cut was also another string to learning on the job so to speak, my corner did a great job and I adapted during the fight."

Fighting on the supporting bill of Joshua-Parker, which will be screened around the world, just offers the 25-year-old Belfast man even more inspiration as he prepares to meet Parejo.

"I've never experienced fighting in this type of event before, it's a massive stadium show broadcast literally all over the world. It's a chance to showcase my skills to a very large audience," he added.

"I was up there before back in October watching the Joshua against Carlos Takam fight, which was a fantastic atmosphere and now to be a part of it is very exciting.

"Being at the last one in Cardiff helps, I like to see things up close and visualise the arenas before it happens. It gives me an understanding of the size of the place and set up. It was good preparation mentally so I won't be going into the unknown."

Victory for Burnett could possibly lead to a further unification fight in the summer.

Belfast Telegraph

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