BOXING: Ryan Burnett excited by prospect of future unification bouts

Ryan Burnett from Belfast.
Ryan Burnett from Belfast.

Ryan Burnett continues his reign as WBA Super World Bantamweight king against Yonfrez Parejo on Saturday night – and is targeting more unification bouts in 2018.

Burnett tackles mandatory challenger Parejo, the Venezuelan facing his first World title fight on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua/Joseph Parker clash in Wales.

They have a common foe in Zhanat Zhakiyanov, the man Burnett beat to unify the division by adding the Kazakh’s WBA strap to his IBF crown.

The Belfast star has vacated the IBF belt after having two mandatory challengers put on him, and he’s happy to be in Wales for his first stadium outing in the first defence of his WBA belt.

Victory for Burnett could lead him to another huge British dust-up in the shape of Jamie McDonnell. The Doncaster ace travels to Japan to face Naoya Inoue for the regular strap in May and the winner is likely to be put in with Burnett later in the year.

“There’s a chance the WBA will order the winner of McDonnell and Inoue to fight me down the line – that’s a great fight out in Japan,” said Burnett (pictured).

“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.

“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 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.

“The gym is really buzzing at the minute and it’s a great step up for Josh Kelly who also fights on this card.

“He’s looking as brilliant as ever, he’s up for the challenge and the chance to win his first belt against a former World champion has added some extra spice – it’s added a spring in his step.”