Ryan Burnett has world in his hands after Parejo win
Ryan Burnett has moved a step closer to a mouth-watering World bantamweight title unification showdown with South African Zolani Tete on the back of his latest successful championship defence.
Burnett retained his WBA World bantamweight title on Saturday night at Cardiff's Principality Stadium when easily outpointing Venezuelan Yonfrez Parejo, who despite being the mandatory challenger proved to be little threat to the Belfast man.
Both Burnett and Tete are expected to enter the latest World Boxing Super Series tournament featuring the top bantamweights on the planet.
Burnett and Tete, regarded by many as the top two bantams in the world, would most likely be placed on either side of the WBSS draw which features quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final over a period of around 18 months.
So far the WBSS has featured cruiserweights and super-middleweights, proving to be a big hit with fans, fighters and broadcasters.
Promoter Eddie Hearn says he is keen to see Burnett meet Tete but only if the money is right for the Belfast man.
"We need to pay him big money for that fight and the way to do it is in the Series to make that kind of money.
"They're both going to go in the tournament, probably, so they'll fight each other. But when they do, they'll do it for big money rather than what's available now.
"It's a premium fight that deserves premium money," said Hearn.
Burnett, who could bank around £3m for winning the WBSS bantamweight tournament, comfortably defeated Parejo on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's World heavyweight title victory over Joseph Parker in Cardiff, despite suffering a suspected broken hand.
Burnett, who also had to have a nasty cut over his left eye stitched, said: "In the third round I hit him with a right and I think I broke it so that was a bit of a problem. I just had to rely on my boxing skills.
"Some fighters would let it go to their head but I was focused on what I had to do. I held it together well. Any time I used the right hand the pain shot up my hand.
"I was solely focused on being as sharp as possible. He was my mandatory challenger so he was no mug and I felt I was capable of controlling him with one hand."
Burnett was handed a unanimous decision from the three judges with two clearly reflecting the one-sided affair as they have the Belfast man every round, scoring it 120-108. Somehow the other judge had it just 116-112 in Burnett's favour.
At 5ft 4', Burnett was giving away plenty of height and reach against the 31-year-old but his speed was a clear antidote to that disadvantage. As Parejo looked to set himself to land some quality he was simply picked off with straight lefts and short right hands with ease.
The Belfast man was quickly into his rhythm, popping out a crisp jab with his hands low as he switched from orthodox to southpaw, even waving the challenger on to come and trade at close quarters.
Against a more potent challenger, Burnett may well have found his broken hand a real issue but it was clear by the first quarter of the fight that this was going to be an easy night's work for the talented Belfast man.
A clash of heads in the seventh round caused the cut over his left eye but that didn't prove to be a major problem.
Burnett cruised to victory and can now look ahead to earning some life-changing purses in the WBSS.