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Ryan Burnett, Zhanat Zhakiyanov Win Bouts in Belfast

HATTON PROMOTIONS prospects Ryan Burnett and Zhanat Zhakiyanov proved why they are earning names for themselves in the bantamweight division on Friday night.

The Ricky Hatton-trained punchers scored impressive stoppages over their respective foes on a show promoted in association with Jane Wilton at the Holiday Inn in Belfast.

Zhakiyanov (20-1) kept busy ahead of his likely European title challenge against Stephane Jamoye by becoming the first fighter to halt Spain-based Nicaraguan Michael Escobar.

The Kazakhstani, fighting under the stewardship of Hatton for the first time, hurt his opponent on several occasions before the referee stepped in during the fourth round.

Burnett (2-0), who was making his hometown debut, needed just two rounds to extinguish the threat posed by Slovakia's Elemir Rafeal.

Cheered on by a large and vociferous support, Burnett wasted little time getting down to business and floored the visitor before the bout was waved off.

"I was very impressed with how both Ryan and Zhanat performed," said Ricky Hatton.

"They've pushed each other hard in sparring in the last few weeks and that work showed.

"I've told everyone how Ryan can become Belfast's next champion and I think tonight he proved why I think so highly of him.

"As for Zhanat, he's only been training with us for a few weeks, but he's shown some improvements already and he's going from strength to strength now. His next fight should be for the European title, which is something we're all very excited about."

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