By Elliot Foster
Ryan Burnett remains on course for a potential world title shot after producing a dominant display.
The Belfast bantamweight won a wide points decision at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, as part of the undercard to Josh Warrington’s featherweight clash against Patrick Hyland, and is now expected to be fast-tracked to a showdown for global honours.
Burnett, 24, moved on to 14-0 (9 KOs) as he successfully negotiated the first defence of his WBC International crown against game Mexican Cesar Ramirez.
He won pretty much every round of the 10-round contest –– with the visitor taking a count in the eighth –– just like he did against Frenchman Anthony Settoul back in February to win the title and promoter Eddie Hearn will now be under some pressure from the Ulsterman’s team to deliver that coveted opportunity on the world stage.
Ramirez, who went 10 rounds for the first time in his career after only previously being scheduled to fight over an eight-round period, attempted to get into the fight and had some good spells but was ultimately outclassed by Burnett, who took the fight on all three judges’ cards by margins of 100-89, 99-90 and 99-90.
In defeat, Ramirez slipped to 12-3 (six early).
Meanwhile, Gamal Yafai retained his Commonwealth bantamweight title, winning on points.
The former Team GB man, who won the belt against Bobby Jenkinson in March, moved into double figures with a victory over Josh Wale, the former British super-bantamweight title challenger of Barnsley, over 12 rounds.
Both fighters gave as good as they got during proceedings, with the game Wale providing Yafai with his toughest test to date as a professional, but the 24-year-old was handed the decision on all three judges’ scorecards, reversing his 28-year-old counterpart courtesy of tallies of 118-111, 117-112 and 117-112.
Yafai is now 10-0 with four early endings but Wale drops to 20-9-2 (11 KOs).
Earlier in the card, Frankie Gavin and Sam Eggington set up their autumn showdown by each claiming victories.
The duo, who campaign at welterweight, were both returning from defeat — to Kell Brook and Bradley Skeete respectively — and are now expected to be pitted against each other in an all-Midlands affair on October 22 at a venue to be confirmed in Birmingham.
Gavin is now 23-2 (14 KOs) and, after an enforced ring absence of 16 months, stopped vastly overmatched import Ivo Gogosevic, who slips to 12-17-2 with five early endings, inside the sixth and final round in his first fight since that aforementioned defeat in a world title challenge against ‘The Special One’.
Eggington (now 18-3, 10 KOs) lost his British & Commonwealth crowns to Skeete four months ago and got back to winning ways ahead of his meeting with Gavin as he ousted Dazza Usher, who is now 9-7 (3 KOs), with less than two minutes on the clock after teeing off at will against the ropes.
And Jake Ball and Felix Cash both recorded early stoppage victories to maintain their undefeated records in the pro ranks, while Connor Seymour and Reece Mould claimed points victories and there was also a win for Germany’s former WBA interim super-middleweight champion Vincent Feigenbutz.