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World champ Ryan Burnett vacates IBF title and confirms details of Yonfrez Parejo bout on Joshua v Parker undercard

By Gareth Hanna

Belfast boxer Ryan Burnett will take on WBA mandatory challenger Yonfrez Parejo next month.

The reigning WBA Super World Bantamweight champion will fight on the undercard of heavyweight Anthony Joshua's much-anticipated unification fight with Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on March 31.

Burnett has vacated his IBF belt in order to take on Vanezuelan Parejo.

“The IBF called an interim title bout between (Emmanuel) Rodriguez and (Lee) Haskins so we proceeded to make the fight with our WBA mandatory Parejo,” explained promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Last week we were notified that that bout would no longer take place and that Rodriguez team were not willing to negotiate and they called immediate purse bids. Our deal was already in place with Parejo so we will vacate our IBF title and continue to face our WBA mandatory.”

It will be the biggest crowd Burnett has ever fought in front of - up to an eye-watering 78,000, the attendance at Joshua's win over Carlos Takam in the same stadium in October. To put that in context, it was a world record for an indoor boxing event, beating the previous record of 63,350set by Muhammad Ali's bout with Leon Spinks in 1978.

“I'm delighted to be added to this show it's going to be an incredible experience to defend my World title in front of 80,000 in Cardiff,” said Burnett.

“I don't really get involved in the politics but we knew that when we face Zhakiyanov that is was likely we may have to vacate one of the belts because of mandatories but I've unified the division and now we move on to new challenges.

“I expect a tough fight against Parejo, our styles should gel for a great fight and I'm looking forward to making another statement on March 31.”

The headline bout between Joshua and Parker sees four World Heavyweight titles up for grabs, Joshua's IBF, IBO and WBA crowns up against Parker's WBO title.

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