By Tom Gray
Unbeaten Belfast star Ryan Burnett will defend his WBA bantamweight title against Yonfrez Parejo on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker heavyweight unification fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on March 31.
Burnett, who is rated No. 3 by THE RING at 118 pounds, won the WBA title when he outpointed Zhanat Zhakiyanov in October. That victory came hot on the heels of Burnett’s maiden world title victory over IBF titleholder Lee Haskins in June.
After claiming the WBA title, however, Burnett (18-0, 9 knockouts) had two mandatory assignments pending and he has been subsequently forced to vacate the IBF belt.
“I don’t really get involved in the politics, but we knew when we faced Zhakiyanov that it was likely we may have to vacate one of the belts,” said Burnett. “But I’ve unified the division, and now we move on to new challenges.
“I expect a tough fight against Parejo. Our styles should gel for a great fight, and I’m looking forward to making another statement on March 31.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn shed some light on the predicament that Burnett faced regarding his two world titles. “The IBF called an interim title bout between (Emmanuel) Rodriguez and (Lee) Haskins, so we proceeded to make the fight with our WBA mandatory Parejo,” said the Matchroom boss.
“Last week we were notified that that bout would no longer take place and that Rodriguez team were not willing to negotiate and they called immediate purse bids. Our deal was already in place with Parejo, so we will vacate our IBF title and continue to face our WBA mandatory.”
Parejo (21-2-1, 10 KOs) is 31 years old and this will be his first attempt at a world title. The Venezuelan’s two prior defeats came on points to Zhakiyanov and by stoppage to former world titleholder Hugo Ruiz.
Information courtesy of a press release issued by Matchroom Boxing
Limited tickets remain on sale for the event priced at £300 and £600 from www.stubhub.co.uk. Coach packages are on sale via www.seetickets.com with various pick up/drop off locations available throughout the UK. For accessibility and wheelchair tickets – please contact the Principality Stadium via 02920 822432.
Official hospitality packages are available to purchase directly from Principality Stadium Experience. Both private suite and premium lounge packages are available to purchase, with prices starting from £450 per person + VAT. For further information please call the team on 02920 822 413. Official Hospitality packages are also available via Sportsworld via www.sportsworld.co.uk or by calling 0208 9712966.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for THE RING. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing