Ryan Burnett became a unified bantamweight titleholder tonight on a tape delay broadcast on HBO. His opponent, Zhanat Zhakiyanov, brought the pressure all night long, but Burnett's better craft showed over the course of the fight which had leaving the ring with both the IBF and WBA belts.
The judges turned in official scorecards of 118-110, 119-109, 116-112, all for Burnett. I scored the fight 117-111 for Burnett, but it was admittedly a hard fight to score with a lot of scrappy action. I mean, it was a good fight, with a lot of punching, but there was also a lot of holding and hitting.
If you like fighters that bring a lot of pressure, you probably like what Zhakiyanov brought to the table, but he walked into a lot of shots and couldn't completely cope with Burnett's craft. Burnett will now look to move on to bigger and better things as a unified titleholder.