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Ricky Hatton Believes Burnett vs. Zhakiyanov is 50-50 Fight

By Terence Dooley

Ricky Hatton takes WBA Super World bantamweight titlist Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18 KOs) into a unification showdown with IBF World holder Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9 early) at Belfast's SSE Arena later today and “The Hitman” believes that his man is the more battle hardened of the two, which he feels could give him the edge on the night despite Burnett enjoying home advantage.

“Ryan isn’t short in the heart department but he hasn’t had to show it yet as a pro,” said Hatton when speaking to the Irish News.  “He might have to on Saturday.”

“Sometimes fighters can diffuse your talent by using certain gameplans and tactics,” he added.  “I can’t help but see it 50-50 but at some stage the winner will have to bite down on his gumshield and I don’t think we’ve seen Ryan do that yet as a pro because he’s been too good, he’s not had to show it yet and my lad has.”

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Burnett won the title via a decision over former Lee Haskins in June and is fighting at home in a first defence that also doubles up as a unification.  Zhakiyanov, though, won his title on the road with a over Rau'shee Warren in Toledo in February so will not be fazed by the hostile Belfast crowd as he also makes the maiden defence of his crown.

Zhakiyanov’s clash with Burnett tops a huge night of boxing in Belfast as Paul Hyland Jnr defends his IBF European Lightweight title against Stephen Ormond and James Tennyson puts his WBA International Super-Featherweight title against Darren Traynor.

Burnett’s Adam Booth gym mate Josh Kelly fights for the fourth time in the paid ranks, as is his Team GB Rio Olympic teammate Anthony Fowler.

A host of local and Irish talents appear on the bill with Cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy, Super-Lightweight Tyrone McKenna, Lightweights Joe Fitzpatrick and Gary Cully and Super-Featherweight Feargal McCrory.

Please send news and views to @Terryboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by MisterDeclanCor on 10-21-2017

[QUOTE=NEETzsche;18151634]In general you're spot on but I believe this fight was made so soon because Burnett's IBF mandatory is potentially even tougher than ZZ, and obviously the only way to put off a mando is with a unification. If he…

Comment by MisterDeclanCor on 10-21-2017

Yeah I get you :) Wouldn't put anything past Fast Eddie, I haven't seen anything of Manny Rodrigez, must give him a watch here... this is a very tough fight for Burnett stylewise tonight. It's easy to say he's gotta…

Comment by NEETzsche on 10-21-2017

[QUOTE=MisterDeclanCor;18151647]I don't see Burnett droppin' any belts, we'll see though. I'll be there tonight, tough fight, Zhakiyanov is relentless, but Burnett is sharp as a razor - Skills pay the bills![/QUOTE] I'm just trying to put myself in Eddie Hearn's…

Comment by MisterDeclanCor on 10-21-2017

I don't see Burnett droppin' any belts, we'll see though. I'll be there tonight, tough fight, Zhakiyanov is relentless, but Burnett is sharp as a razor - Skills pay the bills!

Comment by NEETzsche on 10-21-2017

[QUOTE=Sparked_26;18151620]Quite an interesting match. That is the best thing about these lower weights. In that the match-ups can be made quicker. Of course, there is two sides to that coin, with the other being that these matches get made quicker…

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