Ryan Burnett: Belfast bantamweight bullish for Zhanat Zhakiyanov fight

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Burnett ready for world title unification bout with former Hatton stablemate Zhakiyanov

Ryan Burnett plans to inflict a painful defeat on Zhanat Zhakiyanov when the IBF world bantamweight makes the first defence of his title on Saturday night.

Burnett will take on the WBA champion in his home city of Belfast in the first world unification fight ever to be held in Ireland.

"He's an experienced champion but inside the ring I couldn't care less about him," said the 25-year-old.

"If I can I will hurt him badly - that's what I hope to do."

Burnett clinched the IBF title at the SSE Arena in June with a landslide points win over Bristol's Lee Haskins and he will back in action at the same venue this weekend.

His build-up to the fight against Kazakhstan opponent Zhakiyanov included a public workout in Belfast city centre on Wednesday.

The two fighters were both part of Ricky Hatton's stable for a couple of years before Burnett split with the Englishman in 2014.

However, Zhakiyanov continued to be guided by Hatton and he defeated American Rau'shee Warren to win the WBA title in Ohio last February.

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Episode 1: In camp with Ryan Burnett

Topping the bill

"Four years ago I was here doing a public workout when I was on the undercard," added Burnett.

"Now I'm here doing it myself for a massive fight - I feel very blessed.

"I can't wait to experience it on Saturday night. To feel those feelings of a wall of sound, it's something I'm really looking forward to."

Burnett said he once "dropped" Zhakiyanov in a sparring session but he aims to steer clear of any pre-fight psychological warfare.

"It's just not me, I'm not like that," said Burnett. "I consider myself a nice person and that's the way I would like to be."

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