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Ryan Burnett downs Lee Haskins to win IBF bantamweight title

Ryan Burnett has joined the top ranks at 118 pounds with a big win today.

Boxing at Echo Arena Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

We’ve got a new world champion in the bantamweight division, as Belfast’s Ryan Burnett lived out the dream in front of his hometown crowd today, knocking off Lee Haskins to claim the IBF title by split decision, in what almost has to be a scoring error.

Scores were 119-107 twice for Burnett, and an outrageously baffling 118-108 for Haskins, from U.S. judge Clark Sammartino. There’s almost no way that this was anything other than Sammartino filling out the wrong side of the scorecard, which is bad enough, but would be a mistake far more forgivable than somehow scoring this fight for Haskins, let alone widely.

The gasp in the building when the fight was announced as a split decision was one of complete shock, and rightly so. But again, we’re almost certain this will be discovered to be a technical mistake from Sammartino. There’s just no possible way he saw 10 rounds of this fight for Lee Haskins.

BLH had the fight 119-107 for Burnett.

Burnett (17-0, 9 KO) dropped Haskins (34-4, 14 KO) in the sixth and 11th rounds, dominating the fight pretty much from start to finish at the Odyssey Arena. A tough Haskins, 33, gritted out the 12 rounds admirably, but it was really never in question once the middle rounds took shape, and Burnett continued to separate himself.

Burnett, 25, won the British title in 2015, and obviously has stepped up to another level with this victory. His right hand was active and accurate, and he was, simply put, the better man in the ring in this one, outclassing and outfighting Haskins.

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