Haskins, Burnett to meet for belt in June


LONDON — In the midst of fight week for the hugely anticipated showdown between heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua and former world champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday at Wembley Stadium, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn found time to announce another world title fight on Thursday.

England’s Lee Haskins will travel to Ryan Burnett’s hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland, to defend his bantamweight world title on June 10 at Odyssey Arena.

Burnett (16-0, 9 KOs), the 24-year-old British bantamweight champion, has been a pro since 2013 and is thrilled to get the opportunity to fight for the belt.

“I always dreamed of headlining in Belfast, and now I have the opportunity to do it for a world title,” Burnett said. “I’m so excited. Home advantage is going to be massive. I’ve been in the opposite corner when I fought Ryan Farrag in Liverpool [in a British title defense in October] and experienced that side of it.

“I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in front of my home fans in Belfast. I can’t wait.”

Haskins (34-3, 14 KOs), a 33-year-old southpaw, was elevated from an interim titlist to a full titleholder when then-titleholder Randy Caballero failed to make weight for their mandatory fight in November 2015 and the bout was canceled.

Haskins will be making the third defense of his 118-pound belt, having outpointed Ivan Morales and Stuart Hall in his first two defenses.

“Lee Haskins has been about, he’s been in the game a long time, so he’s probably been in this situation before,” Burnett said. “But the Belfast crowd are proper, they are very passionate for their fighter and will be making plenty of noise on the night for me.

“I’m only 16-0, 24 years old. I’m still new to this level. But this is definitely the right fight for me at this stage of my career. I know I’m capable of stepping up. Lee is very good, skillful. But I know he hasn’t fought anyone like me before and what I bring to the table. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.”

Hearn will host a news conference in Belfast on Wednesday when Haskins and Burnett will come face to face for the first time.


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