Northern Ireland’s Ryan Burnett made a successful first defence of his WBA bantamweight title by seeing off Venezuelan Yonfrez Parejo in Cardiff on Saturday.
The 25-year-old took his unbeaten career record to 19 bouts following a workmanlike performance at the Principality Stadium that saw him overcome a suspected broken hand.
The Belfast boxer had too much guile and agility for a durable opponent, although it was an efficient, rather than spectacular, display as he gained a unanimous points decision.
Burnett, who said after the fight that he thought he had broken his hand in the third round, looked to impose himself from the opening bell.
But Parejo’s experience gained from 24 previous fights also surfaced as he dealt with any initial dangers from his opponent.
Burnett stepped up a gear in the third round, finding combinations that appeared to unsettle Parejo, and he had to stay on top of his game, gaining confidence from an occasional power-shot that found its way through Parejo’s guard.
Parejo was more on the front foot in round five, settling well on only his second fight appearance in Europe, before a firm right hand from Burnett in the sixth round underlined a quiet and growing domination.
Parejo had given everything in the first half of the fight, and Burnett’s superior technique saw him boss round seven, although there were also signs of a cut on his nose as the contest entered its final third.
It was not vintage Burnett, but he did enough to keep the points ticking in his favour, and Parejo seemed content to absorb what came at him rather than mount any concerted counter-attack.
And Burnett successfully closed out the contest, despite his injury concern, as he made it a case of job done.