Ryan Burnett and Zhanat Zhakiyanov To Face Off In Batamweight Unification Match

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The Irish News

Bantamweight world titleholders Ryan Burnett and Zhanat Zhakiyanov are going to square off to unify their titles in their first title defenses.

The bout will take place on October 21st at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“I’m so proud firstly to be part of history in bringing this huge unification to Belfast but also of Ryan Burnett for taking on this huge challenge,” boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said (h/t ESPN).

“Following his great win against (Lee) Haskins for the title, it would have been so easy to come back to Belfast with a standard defence but Ryan wants to be great and make history and this fight against Zhakiyanov can do just that. It’s a brilliant fight and it’s going to be a special night on Oct 21.”

“I’m very, very excited,” Burnett (17-0, 9 KOs) said. “This is the path I’ve always believed in and asked for — to be not just a world champion but a great world champion and this is exactly the fight that propels me into that position. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I’ve done a lot of work with him in sparring but back then I was a kid and hardly had any fights and he was fighting for the European title,” Burnett said. “I know what it’s like to share a ring with him but he doesn’t know what it’s like to share a ring with the current Ryan Burnett. A lot has changed since we last sparred for me but not with him. It’s good to have that bit of knowledge. I know a few things about him. That can only work in my favor.

“The Belfast fans have really took a shine to me, especially since my last fight. Everything has taken off and I’m just looking forward to getting back to the SSE Arena with a packed house behind me.”

“I’ve won against all titleholders that my management team put in front of me,” Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18 KOs) said, listing the various opponents he beat for regional titles. “And in Ohio against Warren. Ryan Burnett will not be different from what I’ve always achieved.”