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Ryan Burnett on Joshua-Parker undercard

Anthony Joshua Joseph Parker

By Dan Fitz-Simons: Fight fans eagerly awaiting the Joshua-Parker title fight on March 31st in Cardiff, Wales, could witness an exciting contest on the under card. Ryan Burnett, a brawler, who always shows up to fight, will enter the ring to exhibit the speed and grit of the sweet science.

Belfast has a well-deserved reputation in the annals of boxing, and Burnett (18-0), only 5’4” tall, is helping to fulfill that legacy. Boxrec has him rated at # 2 in the bantamweight division, and he has won the WBO, WBA, IBF, and British (BBBofC) bantamweight titles.

His impressive record of 18 fights and 18 wins, without being stopped, supports his reputation as one of the best boxers in the division. No stranger to the sport, Ryan started boxing in Belfast at age 4. After turning pro in 2012, he moved to Manchester to train under Ricky Hatton.

Two years later, he joined Adam Booth’s London stable, sparring with big name fighters like David Haye, Andy Lee, and George Groves. With only 9 KO’s, he’s no banger, but at 25, he hasn’t reached his peak. In addition, the Irishman can take a punch, and his speed, stamina, and rhythm are impressive.

The entertaining wars of the lad from Antrim Road are popular with Belfast fans, who admire his determination and ability to turn a scrap around. When floored by Jason Booth, Ryan got up off the canvas and went on fighting to win a decision.

Moreover, he’s taken on seasoned opponents like Lee Haskins, and Zhanat Zhakiyanov in exciting battles that went the distance. Burnett suffered a nasty cut in a war with Haskins, and the Zhakiyanov bout turned into a grueling 12-round contest of vicious hooks and uppercuts in the pocket.

Yet quick hands, combined with a high work rate, have made Burnett a resilient boxer. He now has the look of a champion who’s unaccustomed to losing. In Ryan’s mind no one can beat him, and that goes for his next Venezuelan opponent, Yonfrez Parejo (21-2-1).

Parejo at 31, is giving up 6 years to Burnett, and is rated well behind him at # 39 by Boxrec. He was also KO’d once and defeated by Zhanat Zhakiyanov. Nevertheless, Yonfrez won an interim WBA title in 2015, and has stayed busy, winning his last fight by KO in September 2017.

Like Burnett, Parejo with only 10 KO’s, is not a big puncher; a one punch stoppage by either fighter is unlikely. Burnett is the favorite, but styles make fights, and Ryan may have trouble handling Parejo, who’s an experienced contender. Look for a fast-paced boxing exhibition on this under card.

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