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Ryan Burnett's future looking bright after title victory

by David Kelly

Ryan Burnett not only lifted the British bantamweight title on Saturday night but also booked a place on the undercard to Carl Frampton's showdown with Scott Quigg.

The 23-year-old Belfast man will return to the Manchester Arena on February 27 to make the first defence of his belt and then promoter Eddie Hearn says he will bring him to Belfast to headline a Matchroom boxing event.

Sharp-shooting Burnett was always going to be too slick and fresh for veteran campaigner Jason Booth but credit to the 38-year-old as he climbed off the floor and forced his young opponent to go the 12 rounds - all three judges handing the Belfast man a shut-out victory with scores of 120-107.

The Manchester Arena fans thought they were looking at an early finish in this vacant British title fight after Burnett dropped the former champion in the opening round and then unloaded some of his best shots but gradually Booth warmed to his task, using all his experience to go the distance.

Some had expected Burnett to chalk up a stoppage win by the middle rounds but the Belfast man insisted he was pleased with his performance and "happy to get the 12 rounds".

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Now, Burnett looks ahead to 2016 and the hope that he can become a major attraction in Belfast with an opportunity to push on towards European honours.

"I'm delighted to get the British belt around my waist and to get the 12 rounds and now it looks like I'm going to be boxing on the Frampton-Quigg bill, which is great and then Matchroom want to put me on in Belfast," said Burnett, who stuck to the game plan of coach Adam Booth even after the first round knockdown.

"We talked about what my temperament would be like if I put Booth down, so I knew not to jump on him but to just stay calm and not get carried away. That's what I did, I stuck to my boxing because I know that with a guy like Jason Booth if you don't stay in control he can pick you off.

"He's a guy who has been in with the very best and it was nice afterwards to go into his changing room and have a good chat with him. He told me about the best fighters he has been in with and said that I was right up there, so that gives me a lot of confidence going forward."

Burnett's self-belief leading up to Saturday night was also boosted by some quality sparring with WBA World bantamweight champion Jamie McDonell and European champion Gavin McDonnnell.

"Working with the McDonnell brothers was great for me, they're both top class and to spar them was great for my confidence - overall I had seven sparring partners for this fight which was great," added Burnett, who relishes being the headline act in Belfast.

"I think 2016 can be very exciting for me and I would hope the Belfast fans will get behind me, I don't see why not."

In the main event, Manchester's Anthony Crolla lifted the WBA World lightweight title with a fifth round stoppage of Darlys Perez, sending the Colombian to the canvas with a crunching body shot.

But there was disappointment for Martin Murray who lost on a split decision to champion Arthur Abraham in their WBO super-middleweight title fight in Germany.

Meanwhile, in one of the most anticipated fights of the year Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez comfortably outpointed a faded Miguel Cotto, 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111 to lift the WBC middleweight title and is now seeking a showdown with the number one in the division, Gennady Golovkin.

Belfast Telegraph


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