Belfast Telegraph

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Burnett eyes up Belfast blockbuster

By David Kelly

Ryan Burnett is hoping that victory tonight in Cardiff can lead to another big show in Belfast.

Promoter Eddie Hearn says he is eager to bring Burnett back to his home town, while also insisting that the bantamweight ace would be a hit Stateside.

Burnett makes the first defence of his WBA World title against Venezuelan Yonfrez Parejo on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's heavyweight battle with Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium.

"I'm looking forward to fighting in Cardiff but I love fighting in Belfast, it's my home. People ask me if I had to pick one place to fight in all over the World where would it be? Vegas, New York… but it's definitely Belfast. If I get a chance to get back there after this one, I will do," said Burnett, who is coached and managed by Londoner Adam Booth.

"I don't know too much about the opponent, but he seems to be a very clean boxer.

"Adam knows exactly what I have to do.

"Parejo boxed well against Zhakiyanov, but I'm not relying on the fact that I beat Zhakiyanov and he lost to him."

Burnett would love to annex another title, such as the WBC belt once held by fellow Belfast man Wayne McCullough.

The title is currently vacant following former champion Luis Nery failing to make weight for his victory over Japan's Shinsuke Yamanaka who has announced his retirement.

Burnett decided to vacate his IBF title after being put under pressure to make a mandatory defence. Promoter Hearn and manager Booth clearly felt it made more sense to make a defence of his WBA title against Parejo.

"I don't pay much attention to what has happened with the IBF mandatory situation. It was out of my control. I've won the belt which now is proudly on display, you can't erase that from my career - I've won it.

"It's pointless me worrying about the situation which is out of my hands. But it is what it is, I respect the governing bodies have mandatories for a reason but when you have more than one World title - it's tricky to keep them all.

"It was only the other day Eddie Hearn was saying if Anthony Joshua becomes the undisputed World heavyweight champion, it's very likely he will straight away have to drop some of the belts - it's the way it is. I focus on myself and the things I can have a bearing on.

"There's a chance the WBA will order the winner of Jamie McDonnell versus Naoya Inoue to fight me down the line - it's a great fight out in Japan at the end of May.

"Both are good fighters. Jamie is underestimated, I've done a lot of work with him in the past. I look forward to watching that fight and would have no issues in fighting either of them if called upon - I always do what I have to do."

Regarding tonight's clash, WBA President Gilberto Mendoza commented: "I think it's a very even bout. They are both great fighters with a lot of experience, it will surely be a great fight".

Burnett should win comfortably on points.

Belfast Telegraph

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