BOXING: Ryan Burnett out to prove his title credentials at SSE Arena

Ryan Burnett
Ryan Burnett

Ryan Burnett will be looking to prove that his hype is justified when he challenges for the IBF Bantamweight World title on Saturday night.

The Belfast fighter has been talked about for years and so far on his professional journey he has delivered the goods when he has needed to.

Burnett has always had talent- that is without question - and if he beats Lee Haskins for the IBF belt in front of his home support at the SSE Arena he will have delivered on the ability and talent that has been on display since his early days in the amateur ranks.

Burnett has won the British, WBC International title and the WBO European title in his 16 fights so far as a professional - but Saturday night is ‘different gravy’ as Haskins is a step up.

The English fighter has won 34 of his 37 fights and his last defeat was back in 2012 - a year before Burnett turned professional.

He is also 33 years of age and Haskins will want a few more pay days before his reign comes to an end.

Both fighters have everything to fight for and this is really a clash between a young lion and a wily old fox.

And Burnett knows he will have to perform to his best - if he wants to get his hands on the IBF belt.

“In a sense it almost is ‘man versus boy’,” said Burnett. “He’s 33 and I’m 24, it’s a pretty big age gap, but mark my words, in this situation, that means nothing.

“Haskins has lost once in nine years – that goes to show his level. He’s been there and done it. He’s a great World champion and they don’t give World titles away.

“He’s won everything he can and defended his titles away from home before, he’s a very good fighter. I just feel that this is my time when I take over and ‘Father Time’ catches up with everyone.

“People keep saying that I am the second coming of Carl Frampton – that’s a big statement.

“I do believe that I can emulate his success and be a big hit in Belfast.

“I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from Carl and seeing a Belfast lad become a World champion. He’s taken the steps I want to take.

“What he has achieved - and what he can still achieve - is massive.”