BOXING: Bond with Booth part of Burnett’s belt drive

Ryan Burnett (right) and Lee Haskins share a laugh at the weigh-in. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Ryan Burnett (right) and Lee Haskins share a laugh at the weigh-in. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Ryan Burnett challenges IBF bantamweight champion Lee Haskins hoping to repay the faith trainer Adam Booth placed in him when he let him live in his family home.

The promising 25-year-old was forced to live in a car with his dad when he first moved to England, but after years working with Booth he is expecting to enter a period of significant success.

So close have the two become that Burnett, who earlier weighed in at 8st 5lbs for tonight’s fight at Belfast’s SSE Arena, remained with Booth while the latter lived in Monte Carlo.

His education more recently continued in Surrey, and he can now vindicate his trainer’s dedication by winning his first world title.

Burnett can also emulate Wayne McCullough, another world bantamweight champion from Belfast, by earning world honours in his 17th fight, and he told Press Association Sport: “I went to England, and Adam took me in and trained me, as if I was his own son.

“He’s been really, really good to me, really, really helped me out. It’s been a great relationship: he’s gone above and beyond to say the least.

“This is the point we’ve been working towards since the start. Adam always said he knew I’d get here, and thank God, here we are on the cusp of fighting for a world title.

“He coaches me not just in the gym, but outside the gym. He gives me great knowledge in life, and he is a father figure when I’m away from home.

“It’s not the normal thing you’d see, but it’s worked out very good with me being from Belfast and having to move to England on my own. It was great to move in and get a lot of help, that Adam didn’t have to give.

“Adam was in Monte Carlo for a while, and I had a choice to stay in England and train, or go to Monte Carlo and get the very best out of training, and I decided to move over there so I could be with Adam as much as possible.

“Things were a bit rocky for a while, and not going well for me, unfortunately. Me and my dad were in a car for a while, just while we were trying to get things back on the road. It went on for five, six weeks. We got over that, and it’s all good.”