Ryan Burnett beats Zhanat Zhakiyanov to win WBA bantamweight world title
Northern Ireland's Ryan Burnett became a double world bantamweight champion by beating Kazakhstan's Zhanat Zhakiyanov on points in Belfast.
The 25-year-old from Belfast added the WBA belt to his IBF title after 12 bruising rounds at the SSE Arena.
Burnett won a unanimous decision, the judges scoring the fight 118-110, 119-109, 117-112.
Burnett was taken to hospital after the bout as a precaution but was later discharged and joined the celebrations.
Despite a lot of swelling, it is thought that he has not suffered any fractures to his jaw and the scans he underwent were clear.
He walked from the ring to his dressing room, but paramedics were alerted after he complained of a severe headache.
"It was tough and I had to dig deep, but I did it. I'm now a double world champion," Burnett told Sky Sports.
In the first world unification bout to be staged in Ireland, Burnett and 33-year-old Zhakiyanov fought at close quarters with little room to land meaningful punches.
Burnett connected with the cleaner shots, although Zhakiyanov maintained an aggressive style throughout.
Burnett has won all 18 of his professional fights, while defeat for Zhakiyanov was only his second in 29 bouts.
"The plan was to keep him at range but he kept coming forward, although with this fight I've proved a point," said Burnett.
Briton Ricky Hatton, the former two-weight world champion who trains Zhakiyanov, said: "I thought Ryan nicked it and the best man won, but the scores were harsh on Zhanat."