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I’m ready to step up and rule world, says Ryan Burnett

By David Kelly

He may not have boxed at World level as yet but Ryan Burnett has no doubt that on June 10 at the SSE Arena he will take the IBF bantamweight title from Bristol’s Lee Haskins.

Unbeaten Belfast man Burnett will be gunning for the IBF crown in only his 17th fight with his most significant victory so far a British title defence against former European champion Ryan Farrag.

Now, promoter Eddie Hearn has shown his faith in the 24-year-old’s ability by securing him a shot at 33-year-old Haskins, who boasts a record of 33 wins and three defeats — two of which came in the early part of his career.

“I know I’m ready to make this step up to World level and I aim to prove it. I know this is my time and I’m going to take that belt on June 10,” said Burnett.

“I believe that people still haven’t seen the best of me and it’s only at World level that fighters will bring out the best in me. Against Lee Haskins I will have to give a performance above what I’ve done so far because that’s what it’s going to take to win.

“I’ve worked with some top quality guys in the gym, sparred with better guys than I’ve fought so far and anyone who has been in with me has said that I’m a big talent so I know what I can do and I’m buzzing about this fight.

“I’ve said for a long time that I wanted to headline my own show in Belfast and I’m very grateful that I’ve got the chance and it’s a World title fight which is great.”

Burnett has learned his trade largely across the water on the undercard of several Matchroom shows but is now determined to become a firm favourite with the local fans.

Indeed, the Belfast man believes the SSE Arena can become his home if he triumphs over Haskins.

“When I win the World title I expect to have the majority of my fights in Belfast,” added Burnett, who is coached by highly successful trainer Adam Booth.

“Home advantage is going to be massive. I’ve been in the opposite corner when I fought Ryan Farrag in Liverpool and experienced that side of it.

“I got a little taste of it when I was on the undercard when Carl Frampton boxed Scott Quigg (in Manchester in 2016), when I came out everyone went crazy.

“That felt like a home show. It gives you that extra spring in your step, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in front of my home fans in Belfast. I can’t wait.

“Lee Haskins has been about, he’s been in the game a long time so he’s probably been in this situation before. But the Belfast crowd are proper, they are very passionate for their fighter and will be making plenty of noise on the night for me. Lee is very good, skilful. But I know he hasn’t fought anyone like me before and what I bring to the table. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.

“The Farrag fight was one of my tougher tests, I fought the best Farrag. Adam was very happy with how I dealt with it. Looking back, it was a good learning fight for me.”

Tickets go on sale on May 4.

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