If Ryan Burnett [16(9)-0] is to become a big star, and bring regular fight nights to Belfast, he needs to score an impressive win this weekend, warns promoter Eddie Hearn.
The North Belfast lad takes on IBF bantamweight champion Lee Haskins [34(14)-3(3)] at the SSE Odyssey Arena on Saturday June 10th, and there is perhaps more than just a world title on the line.
With nine knockouts in his first 11 fights, Burnett was building a reputation as a big punching and exciting bantamweight. However, the fighter, who was touted as one to watch since his underage days in Ireland, has been more pragmatic in his approach in the five bouts since.
While under the tutelage of Andy Lee’s trainer Adam Booth, the 24 year old has pointed his way to victory.
There is evidence the London based trainer has held the British champion back in certain fights, indeed he has admitted as much – and Hearn has spoken of a need to let Burnett off the leash so to speak.
Hearn believes that this unleashed Burnett now has the opportunity to become a star on home turf – rather than just a pay-per-view undercard filler.
“If we are going to build Ryan Burnett in Belfast he has to win that World Championship in his home patch,” stated the English promoter before outlining his desire to build a base in the Titanic City.
“If I had no intention of being in Belfast longer I wouldn’t have bothered with the show I would have put it on pay-per-view card. Now this is a chance for Ryan to become a star in Belfast win a World title, unify the division and maybe move up in weight.”
“He has a chance [of becoming a star at home]. He is exciting, he is likable, he talks well, he is a good looking and he is from Belfast, why wouldn’t you support him?”
“He has a long future ahead of him. This might be too early, but I’d rather he was in a 50/50 fight now than an easy fight. People can actually get behind it and not know the result before it starts.”
Hearn also feels that Saturday’s crowd, which Irish-boxing.com have been reliably informed will be 5000-plus, could play a part.
The Matchroom boss described how “fighting in front of your home crowd makes the difference.”
“Don’t forget he has been coming out to fight in front of a load of Englishmen who aren’t bothered, when you actually have people behind you get a difference performance and I think you will see that in this case.”
The Burnett-Haskins undercard at present comprises of an Irish cruiserweight title fight between Luke Watkins and Ian Tims, Feargal McCrory v Paul Holt, James Tennyson v Ben Jones, Paul Hyland v Adam Dingsdale and appearances from Carl McDonald, Sean Magee, Matt Wilton, Tyrone McCullagh, Padraig McCrory, Paddy Gallagher, and the return of Mike Perez.
Tickets for ‘Belfast Boy’ on June 10th at the SSE Odyssey Arena cost £30, £40, £60, £100, and £150 (VIP), and can be bought from the boxers involved or HERE.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)