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Burnett links up with Top Rank

Ryan Burnett returns to action at the Ulster Hall on May 17
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lawrence Lustig Ryan Burnett returns to action at the Ulster Hall on May 17 Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lawrence Lustig
By David Mohan

RYAN Burnett has received a further boost ahead of his return to action at the Ulster Hall on Friday, May 17 against Jelbirt Gomera in a 12-rounder for the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title as the North Belfast man has penned a promotional deal with Top Rank.

Burnett, who was hugely unfortunate to relinquish the WBA bantamweight title due to injury (torn oblique) against Nonito Donaire in Glasgow last November, will return at super-bantamweight as he targets to get back to the top.

There had long been suggestions the Newington man was set to link-up with Top Rank – who also promote his stablemate, Michael Conlan – given his management group, MTK’s links with the American promotional superpower and the fact his return with be beamed live in the United States on ESPN+, Top Rank’s broadcast partner.

This means an end of the relationship with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn whose attention is now firmly fixed across the pond also.

Under Hearn’s guidance, Burnett became a unified bantamweight champion in 2017 when dethroning Lee Haskins for the IBF title and Zhanat Zhakiyanov for the WBA version.

He will continue to work with trainer, Adam Booth as the target appears to be landing another title belt and becoming a two-weight champion before the end of the year with WBC champion, Rey Vargas appearing to be the target give he fights for a ranking title with the Mexico-based sanctioning body at the Ulster Hall.

“It is a dream come true to sign with Top Rank,” Burnett confirmed.

“I’ve spent years learning and perfecting my craft, becoming world champion and then unified world champion. On May 17, I begin my quest to become world champion again.

“Teaming up with the biggest players in the game in Top Rank, ESPN and MTK Global will only strengthen my drive and determination to achieve this.

“With these guys behind me, there’s only one way ahead for me, and that’s straight to the top.”

MTK Global Professional Development Manager, Jamie Conlan added: “We’re proud and excited to be part of another huge deal involving Top Rank and ESPN, and this is something Ryan deserves.

“As the boxing world already knows, Ryan has a special night upcoming when he headlines an #MTKFightNight in his home city of Belfast, live on ESPN+ on May 17.

“It’s great the partnership won’t stop there. As someone who’s already unified a division, we believe we’re talking about an elite fighter, and elite fighters should fight on elite platforms. This agreement ensures that happens, and once again, MTK Global are delighted to play our role.”

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