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'I'm here to stay', vows Belfast's new world champion Ryan Burnett

Ryan Burnett beats Lee Haskins to take IBF bantamweight world title

By Gareth Hanna

Belfast Boy Ryan Burnett says he is "here to stay" after claiming the world title at the SSE Arena.

The 25 year-old boxer put in a convincing display to take the IBF world bantamweight title in his home city, despite a controversial split decision.

Burnett delivered strong right hand shots on his 33 year-old opponent that in the end saw him cruise to victory despite an early clash of heads.

Puzzlingly, one of the three judges awarded the fight 118-108 in Haskins' favour but the other two read 119-107 to Burnett.

"I promised everyone this belt was staying in Belfast and guess what? It's staying in Belfast," said Burnett live on Sky Sports.

"He hurt me a few times, I had to dig deep, but I'm the champion of the world."

"This is my dream, I just want to enjoy this now. Thank-you everybody from the bottom of my heart for coming out here tonight.

"I had an argument with my dad when I was 11 and I promised him one day I'd be world champion. Tonight I did it.

"When it was a split decision, I thought they were going to take it from me. I strongly believe the best man won on the night. All credit to Haskins - he's an incredible fighter but I believe the best man won.

"They said I was inexperienced but I stuck with it when I got hurt a few times, that's what champions do, they stick with it when it gets hard."

The win takes Burnett's professional record to 17-0 and he says it's going to get better.

"Belfast's got a new world champion and I'll be here to stay, mark my words," concluded Burnett.

Meanwhile, Eddie Hearn said he felt there had been a mix-up on the controversial scorecard.

"I believe the scores were put in the wrong box, it's the only explanation I can see," he said on Sky Sports. "I believe it was a unanimous decision. Ryan Burnett is the champion of the world.

"I know you don't like me very much but, Belfast, thank-you. We were able to bring this world championship here because of the support of the fans. We took a gamble with Ryan Burnett but it paid off. A new star is born in Belfast, another world champion and now we can start coming back here regularly again."

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