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Ryan Burnett and Zhanat Zhakiyanov set for October 21st unification bout

The fight will be each man’s first title defense

Boxing at SSE Arena Belfast Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

No victory laps here.

Less than two months after trouncing Lee Haskins for the IBF bantamweight title, Ryan Burnett is already booked for a unification match with WBA “Super” champ Zhanat Zhakiyanov. The two are set to fight in Burnett’s native Belfast on October 21st.

Burnett (17-0, 9 KO), a former BBBofC champ with wins over Anthony Settoul and Ryan Farrag, entered his fight with Haskins as a moderate favorite and delighted the hometown crowd with a wide decision win. The fight was also notable for judge Clark Sammartino literally getting Burnett and Haskins mixed up, resulting in a 118-108 scorecard for Haskins and a ban from judging in Britain.

Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18 KO) had slightly more difficulty in his title shot. Bearing the interim WBA title, the Kazakh veteran survived two early knockdowns to scrape past Rau’shee Warren in February. You may also remember him from his terrific 2014 knockout of Karim Guerfi.

This is exactly the sort of drive I like to see from champions. May they serve as an example for the rest.

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