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The power of love is going to fire me to double world title, says Ryan Burnett

 

By David Kelly

World champion Ryan Burnett has revealed that the support of fiancée Lara Milner will play a key part in him becoming the IBF and WBA unified bantamweight king this Saturday night.

Burnett has the biggest test of his career in Belfast's SSE Arena when he meets WBA champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov, the Manchester-based Kazakh who is trained by former two-weight World champion Ricky Hatton.

The 25-year-old Belfast man landed the IBF title in June when comprehensively outpointing Lee Haskins and now meets Zhakiyanov on the back of a tough 10-week camp with coach and manager Adam Booth.

"My fiancée Lara has been with me during this camp in London for the first time and I'm very thankful for her because she has put her career on hold for me," said Burnett, whose fiancée is a lead dancer with Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance.

"All I do during camp is eat, sleep, train and repeat. There's no socialising at all, that's all I do. I live it for the whole time I'm in camp because I know that's what has to be done to be successful at the highest level.

"So there are moments when it's tough, when maybe you're not in the best of moods and this camp has been particularly tough. Adam knows what to expect in this fight and what he had to put me through to have me ready.

"I stay in Adam's house when I'm preparing for a fight and having Lara with me has helped me just focus on what I have to do.

"Lara has cooked and washed for me, cleaned for me and just having her there for emotional support, for someone to talk to - to break up the days and keep me relaxed when things can get tense - has been great.

"It speaks volumes about Lara that she has been prepared to be away from her friends and devote her time to me. She knows how much this means to me. The strongest force in the world is love and everybody needs that kind of support no matter who you are.

"I'm very fortunate to have an amazing woman by my side who keeps me very focused. She teaches me the rights and wrongs of life and she has helped a lot, I was an absolute firework when I met her."

Burnett, who has plans to marry Lara in 2020, says he is not only determined to become a unified World champion but deliver a series of victories over the coming years that will leave him in a very solid position financially.

"It's not just about winning another belt. A win here means that I can buy a home for my family. I'm World champion and I want to kick on to big things... being able to provide for my family is my goal now," added Burnett, who is relishing another atmospheric night in Belfast.

"The Belfast fans are amazing, they give you that bit of a push when you box in front of them. I love boxing at home and if I could fight here the rest of my career I would be happy.

"I know that a lot of boxers are keen to box in the States but I've tasted that, I boxed in the Barclays Centre in my ninth fight. There's no better place than Belfast and I'm sure that it will be another great atmosphere for this fight."

Saturday night's bill will also feature Belfast super-featherweight James Tennyson in a good scrap with Scotland's Darren Traynor, unbeaten super-lightweight Tyrone McKenna and unbeaten lightweight Paul Hyland.

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