Ryan Burnett: Belfast man retains WBA bantamweight title with dominant win

Ryan Burnett lands a left on Yonfrez Parejo in the WBA world bantamweight title bout in Cardiff
Burnett was never in trouble in his contest against Venezuela's Yonfrez Parejo

Belfast boxer Ryan Burnett successfully defended his WBA world bantamweight title by earning a dominant points win over Venezuela's Yonfrez Parejo.

Burnett, 25, never looked in any trouble in the Cardiff bout but said afterwards he believed he had broken his right hand in the third round.

"I threw a right at the beginning of the round and I think I broke my hand," Burnett told Sky Sports.

Two of the judges gave Burnett all 12 rounds as he took a 19th straight win.

That meant a 120-108 verdict for the Northern Irishman with the third judge scoring the contest 116-112 as Burnett made a first successful defence of the WBA belt he won from Kazakhstan's Zhanat Zhakiyanov last October.

"I had to rely on my boxing skills to get me through the fight," said Burnett after the contest which was on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's world heavyweight title unification bout against Joseph Parker.

Ryan Burnett celebrates his victory as his trainer Adam Booth (left) looks to his right
Ryan Burnett is trained by Adam Booth (left)

Burnett headed to hospital shortly after the fight to have his hand assessed and also have treatment on a cut which he sustained in the contest.

Parejo, whose two previous defeats in 24 fights included a split-decision loss against Zhakiyanov in November 2015, found Burnett a totally elusive opponent although their respective styles made for a somewhat dull contest.

After appearing to shade the opening two rounds, Burnett stepped up a gear third, finding combinations that appeared to unsettle Parejo.

Parejo was more on the front foot in round five, settling well on only his second fight appearance in Europe, before a firm right hand from Burnett in the sixth round underlined a quiet and growing domination.

It was not vintage Burnett but he did enough to keep the points ticking in his favour and Parejo was unable to mount any concerted counter-attack.

Burnett's autumn win over Zhakiyanov added the WBA belt to the IBF title he landed last June when he outpointed England's Lee Haskins.

However, Burnett opted to vacate the IBF title earlier this year when agreeing to fight Parejo.

One of the Venezuelan's two previous defeats come against Zhakiyanov in a WBA interim title bout in 2015.

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