Ryan Burnett savouring 'special' year after becoming unified bantamweight world champion
By Neel Khagram
Last Updated: 19/12/17 10:57am
Ryan Burnett says this year has been ''something special" after becoming unified bantamweight world champion.
The 25-year-old added his name alongside Irish hero Carl Frampton in unifying a boxing weight class, after outpointing Lee Haskins in June to claim the IBF title, before acquiring the WBA 'super' strap from former stablemate Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast two months ago.
The Adam Booth-trained fighter says he may not realise the significance of his achievements while he is still fighting, but feels not many fighters will do what he has done in only 18 fights.
"It's something that I've pushed myself towards and now I've done it," Burnett told the Belfast Telegraph.
Becoming unified champion is something special. There aren't many out there that are capable of doing it so it's definitely my highlight of 2017.
"I think it will settle in after my career, I don't think I really understand the magnitude of it right now.
"Becoming unified champion is something special. There aren't many out there that are capable of doing it so it's definitely my highlight of 2017."
Burnett does not have an opponent lined up for 2018 yet, but WBO champion Zolani Tete has voiced his desire to fight him next, while WBC title-holder Luis Nery or domestic rival Paul Butler are also options.
However, the Northern Irishman, who was taken to hospital after his gruelling battle against Zhakiyanov, says he is enjoying some much-needed rest away from the ring first, before assessing his options for the next calendar year.
"A lot of people are asking me when I'll be back out again," he said.
"But I told Eddie [Hearn] and Adam [Booth] 'don't dare talk to me about boxing until the new year,' so I haven't heard a peep.
"I've been taking it easy. I've been told a mental rest is just as important. I'm keeping myself ticking over in the gym but I am enjoying myself too.
"I told Eddie and Adam that I'll fight anybody. As a promotional side of things, it's down to them to do it."