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Talented Ryan Burnett is aiming to take on the World after WBC international bantamweight title win

By David Kelly

The supporting bill at the Manchester Arena was all about one man going forward and two fellow Belfast boxers taking a huge backwards step.

Talented Ryan Burnett enjoyed a comfortable 10-round shut-out victory over tough Frenchman Anthony Settoul to win the WBC international bantamweight title.

However, there was bitter disappointment for Marc McCullough, who was stopped in the eighth round of his Commonwealth featherweight title fight with Morecambe's Isaac Lowe, while flyweight Luke Wilton is likely to retire after losing every round against Charlie Edwards.

Burnett, an Olympic Youth gold medallist, seems to be progressing nicely with coach Adam Booth.

A stoppage win would have been the icing on the cake, having dropped the Frenchman in the fifth, but he nevertheless outpointed Settoul 100-90, 100-89, 100-89.

"Settoul knew he had to box safe or he'd have got knocked out," said Burnett.

"I've had three title fights in a row so this is my time. I'm at the stage in my career where the opponents are getting better. Soon I'll be taking over Belfast, believe that.

"This was a step up in class for me and I dealt with it well so Adam's happy with how I boxed.

"This gave me a taste of what the big fights are like. I don't care who the World champions are at my weight, I'm ready for them."

Featherweight McCullough was the biggest disappointment and one wonders just where his career goes from here after losing to Lowe - a tidy boxer with limited power.

McCullough was on the end of a relentless assault from Lowe when his cornerman and manager John Breen threw in the towel, which was smeared with the blood that had been flowing from his fighter's left eye.

At the same moment, the referee waved it off at 1:56 of the eighth round.

Coach Breen said: "That's the worst performance I've seen from Marc McCullough.

"He came back to the corner after the fourth round and said he didn't feel too great, I thought about pulling him out after the sixth round and then I knew I had to throw in the towel in the eighth."

As for Wilton, a former British title challenger, he admitted: "I said it was win or bust for me before this fight and it's bust right now. I just couldn't hurt him or catch him at all, he was too sharp.

"Inactivity hurt me badly but I gave it a good go. He didn't stand within reach and I couldn't get to him. He taught me a lesson to be honest."

Coalisland middleweight Conrad Cummings, meanwhile, chalked up a solid win when he outpointed Frenchman Victor Garcia 59-54.

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