Ryan Burnett will battle Zhanat Zhakiyanov in a world title unification clash on Sky Sports

Ryan Burnett celebrates beating Lee Haskins during their IBF World Bantamweight Championship bout
Image: New IBF champion Ryan Burnett faces WBA 'super' title holder Zhanat Zhakiyanov in a world bantamweight title unification clash, live on Sky Sports

Ryan Burnett can continue his remarkable rise when he battles Zhanat Zhakiyanov in a world bantamweight title unification clash in Belfast, live on Sky Sports.

The Belfast man claimed the IBF title in only his 17th fight after a points victory over Lee Haskins in June and the 25-year-old will next target the WBA 'super' belt when he returns to his hometown to face Zhakiyanov at The SSE Arena on Saturday October 21.

Zhakiyanov has already proven himself on hostile territory, taking the WBA crown with a comeback points victory over American Rau'shee Warren in Ohio this February.

Zhanat Zhakiyanov celebrates with trainer Ricky Hatton after winning the WBA bantamweight title. Picture from @HitmanHatton
Image: Zhakiyanov will be joined by trainer Ricky Hatton in Belfast

Sky Sports Head of Boxing Adam Smith said: "We are delighted to be heading back to Belfast with Ryan Burnett, one our rising young stars, and two world titles will be on the line as he takes on the dangerous Zhanat Zhakiyanov.

"Ryan produced a hugely impressive win over Lee Haskins and we're expecting another exciting encounter against Zhakiyanov in the first unification fight to be staged in Belfast."

Tale of the Tape - Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov
Image: Tale of the Tape - Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov

Burnett floored Haskins twice during a dominant victory, which was incorrectly scored as a split decision after one judge mixed up the two fighters before the verdict was later corrected to a unanimous points victory.

"I'm very, very excited!" said Burnett. "This is the path I've always believed in and asked for - to be not just a world champion but a great world champion and this is exactly the fight that propels me into that position. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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I know what it's like to share a ring with him, but he doesn't know what it's like to share a ring with the current Ryan Burnett
Ryan Burnett

"I've done a lot of work with him in sparring, but back then I was a kid and hardly had any fights and he was fighting for the European title.

"I know what it's like to share a ring with him, but he doesn't know what it's like to share a ring with the current Ryan Burnett. A lot has changed since we last sparred for me but not with him. It's good to have that bit of knowledge, I know a few things about him. That can only work in my favour.

"The Belfast fans have really took a shine to me especially since my last fight, everything has taken off and I'm just looking forward to getting back to the SSE Arena with a packed house behind me."

Burnett was crowned as the new IBF bantamweight champion in June

But Zhakiyanov showed his spirit as he overcame two first-round knockdowns to pull off a shock win over Warren, with two judges scoring the fight in his favour.

"I've won against all title holders that my management team put in front of me," said Zhakiyanov.

"In Switzerland in 2011, in Sheffield in against Karim Guerfi, in Vraza against Hector Guzman, in Monaco against Yonfrez Parejo and in Ohio against Warren. Ryan Burnett will not be different from what I've always achieved."

Former world champion Ricky Hatton will resume his training duties with Zhakiyanov, while respected trainer Adam Booth will be plotting another memorable triumph for Burnett.

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