It goes without saying that everybody in the Irish boxing community was positively delighted to see that Ryan Burnett secured a maiden world title fight.
The North Belfast bantamweight will challenge IBF champion Lee Haskins on Saturday June 10th, in his hometown at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
It is certainly great news for Burnett, and for Irish boxing that the Sky cameras are finally returning to these shores.
However, with the announcement of the fight, there came a notable number of commentators who believed that the fight could turn out to be a less than desirable clash of styles and result in a ‘boring’ fight.
The awkward southpaw style of Haskins [34(13)-3(3)] was pointed out, as were the lack of knockouts for Burnett [16(9)-0] since he linked up with Matchroom.
Despite some citing to Burnett’s immensely entertaining British title defence against Ryan Farrag – as well as the general feeling that trainer Adam Booth has been instructing the Irishman to bank rounds – the worries of a fight next month which does not catch fire still remain.
When asked about these fears, Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn admitted that “I do think the first couple of rounds will be cagey. Haskins is difficult to luck good against.”
However, Hearn is confident that the circumstances of the fight will result in one which entertains.
“I think Ryan will have to go for it,” said Hearn
The 37 year old reasoned how “Lee Haskins will be away from home, so he ain’t going to want to nick the fight, and I think Ryan also has to put in a performance.”
“There is the element of if you win and it’s poor, the next one’s very difficult [to sell].”
“You need to entertain and, being let off the leash, I do think you’ll see that from Burnett.
Indeed Hearn revealed that he passed over other champions who he felt would be easier fights for Burnett and perhaps is more conducive to a sure-fire entertaining scrap.
The English promoter is instead confident in his reasoning that a Haskins fight is both easier to sell and has the potential to pole-vault Burnett to the top of the division – while still entertaining the fans in the Odyssey.
Hearn outlined that “when we looked at the other champions, we nearly got the fight with Marlon Tapales, Zhanat Zhakiyanov, they’re a tougher sell.”
“Although the styles suit Ryan better, it’s a tougher sell.”
“Here you’ve got an Englishman who people do know, that they’ve seen fighting before.”
“I feel like, if he can win this, we can quickly move to unify the division against Zhakiyanov and those kind of people.”
The undercard of the bumper bill next month features Feargal McCrory, Matt Wilton, Padraig McCrory, Paul Hyland Jr, James Tennyson, Sean Magee, and Paddy Gallagher.
Tickets cost £30, £40, £60, £100, and £150 (VIP), and can be bought from the boxers involved or HERE.