Ryan Burnett and Lee Haskins bullish for world title bout

Ryan Burnett is confident of overcoming IBF champion Lee Haskins in Saturday’s world bantamweight title fight at the SSE Arena in Belfast.

The unbeaten Belfast man has won all 16 of his pro fights while Bristol’s Haskins is making his third defence.

“I firmly believe that Belfast will have a new world champion on Saturday,” said Burnett, 25.

“I’m fighting a very, very good world champion, so that’s going to make the night even sweeter for me.”

He added: “It’s a dream of mine to get back to Belfast and fight here, and for a world title.

“Every single night when I’m lying in bed I’m thinking about the belt, about winning, how I’m doing it, how it’s going to feel. I’ve thought about it over and over, seen it clearly over and over.

“To win I’m going to have to be at my very, very best. I know exactly the man standing in front of me on the night.

“You can’t dress it up – he’s a great champion and been beaten once in nine years, which speaks volumes.”

Haskins undaunted by away day

Englishman Haskins, 33, has long been considered one of Britain’s most underrated fighters.

He says meeting Burnett on the Belfast man’s own turf does not daunt him.

“It’s going to be a hostile crowd but truthfully it doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I’ve boxed away time and time again so I know what’s coming.

“I’ve boxed in Monaco, Belgium and Morocco and in plenty of backyards in the UK. It doesn’t bother me – a ring is a ring. I hope the Belfast fans don’t give me too much of a hard time!”

He was also at pains to pay his challenger due respect, and conceded the Northern Irishman had the ability to test him.

“When I feel like I have a 50-50 fight in front of me, I put a lot extra into the training and I want it more,” he said.

“I’ve got a great opponent in front of me. This is a 50-50 fight.

“Before I even knew I was fighting him I thought: ‘He’s a fantastic fighter and one to watch in the future’.

“I’ve had an amazing time in camp. I’m happy, in a great place. I’ve a great family and I want to keep providing for them, and the best way to do that is obviously by winning.”


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