Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9KOs) produced a dominant performance against Lee Haskins (34-4, 14KOs) to win the IBF World bantamweight title at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.
The Belfast boy dropped Haskins in the sixth and eleventh rounds to record an impressive split decision victory in front of his home crowd.
Ridiculously one of the judges scored the fight 118-108 in favour of Haskins but thankfully the other two officials both handed Burnett the fight with totals of 119-107.
Burnett’s speed was causing the Bristol fighter all sorts of problems from the outset. He was quicker and sharper from the first bell, throwing his jab from the hip and landing cleanly with his right.
The 25 year showed great maturity in the second round when he was cut severely after a clash of heads. Kudos to the cutman for his excellent work.
The former champion was struggling to keep up with the youngsters fast hands and slick footwork but did manage to connect with a few body shots.
With the fight approaching the middle rounds the 33 year old would have been hoping that Burnett would start to slow down. Unfortunately for Haskins a right hook sent him to the canvas in the sixth.
Burnett was starting to enjoy himself in the championship rounds with clever feints and movement that left Haskins missing wildly at times.
With the home crowd singing Burnetts name he wobbled Haskins in the tenth and put him down with a flurry of punches in the eleventh.
To his credit Haskins managed to finish the fight on his feet but he knew the kid from Belfast had just snatched his title away from him.
After some questionable judging the right man won on the night but the IBF will have to look at the official who gave Haskins the fight. Whether he filled in the wrong box or not that is a shocking decision that needs to be addressed.
Huge credit to Ryan Burnett for an excellent performance. I believe a unification fight with Jamie McDonnell has to be next which should be pretty straight forward to agree considering that they are both under Eddie Hearn.
Lee Haskins will need to lick his wounds and re-group but it is difficult to see where he goes from here.
Paul Hyland Jnr (16-0, 6KOs) put in an impressive display against Adam Dingsdale (16-4-1, 4KOs) with a first round TKO to win the vacant IBF East/West Europe lightweight title.
Belfast’s James Tennyson (29-2, 15KOs) won the vacant WBA International super featherweight title against Ryan Doyle (14-2-1, 8KOs) with a sixth round stoppage.
Cuban Mike Perez (22-2-1, 14KOs) moved down to the cruiserweight division against undefeated Viktor Biscak (10-1, 7KOs) and made short work of the Slovakian, knocking him out in only 29 seconds.
A good night of boxing in Belfast with all their home fighters coming out on top. Ryan Burnett looks classy and could potentially be the best of all the current crop of Irish fighters.
Considering they have Jamie and Michael Conlan, Paddy Barnes and Carl Frampton that would be a massive achievement but one that won’t faze the new young champion.
Would like to have seen more of Mike Perez, the Cuban residing in Cork with one hell of a fascinating story. 7/10