Roughly just under five thousand people turned up to see the Haskins V Burnett but they made it feel like twenty thousand when the fighters walked out for the main event. Haskins looked completely unfazed by the crowds booing reaction as he entered the ring but the atmosphere was electric before the first bell had even rung and this is what Belfast is famous for when it comes to Boxing events.
Haskins came out confidently in the first round and started beating Burnett to the punch, but Burnett appeared to be using the first round to have a good look at his opponent and came back with a few overhand rights to let Haskins know he was still there, with every punch that lands from Burnett it sparked the crowd into life cheering the young prospect on. At the end of the first round Burnett has some red marks on the left-hand side of his face, but personally I felt Haskins did enough to take the opening round.
Burnett comes out in the second round and starts to show the quality Adam Booth has been telling us about, Burnett started to find his range then there is a nasty clash off heads that cuts both fighters heads but it appeared that Burnett came off much worse as there is a large gash on his forehead. Both fighters appeared to do a lot of dodging and fainting to outfox each other but Burnett was catching Haskins more and making him miss. Burnett started upping the work rate even more and appeared to be growing in confidence as he hands were very low down.
Both Fighters tried to use their speed to gain an advantage and this caused the fighters to get tangled up on occasions, Burnett moves up a level and started to unload big right hooks to Haskins head and at the same time utilise his speed to get in and out without taking any punches back off Haskins. In the 6th round both fighters tried to impose themselves but Burnett landed another big Right hand which lands flush on Haskins chin and send him crashing to the canvas.
Burnett moved up the gears again and started to dominate Haskins, he didn’t appear to be reacting to Burnett as he was catching him at will and it looked like Haskins was running out of ideas to combat Burnett. The Belfast Boy was dictating the pace of the fight and was comfortably winning the rounds with his speed and timing. Into the tenth round and there was another clash of heads with Burnett sustaining a cut to his left eye.
Everywhere Haskins went Burnett was right in front of him, Burnett caught Haskins again and sent him to the canvas in the eleventh. Haskins somehow manages to survive the round after a barrage of punches and takes the fight into the twelfth and final round. Burnett looks as fresh as he was in the early rounds and coasts to a points victory but a bit of craziness from one of the judges makes it a split decision by giving the fight to Haskins by 118-109, Burnett took the other scorecards 119-107 & 119-107 but in my opinion I had Burnett winning every round bar the first. Eddie Hearn later confirmed that the Judge who gave the result to Haskins had actually made a mistake and he thought he was awarding the rounds to Burnett as he gave two rounds to Haskins 10-8 but he never knocked Burnett down. There was talk that Haskins damaged a nerve in his neck and was fighting a portion of the fight with one arm.
The Belfast fans were very happy with a great show that was put on tonight and I really believe they have found a new hero in Ryan Burnett, this victory makes him the eighth fighter from Northern Ireland to win a World Title, and I am expecting many more great nights in Belfast now.
Results from the night
Sean McGoldrick bt Ricky Starkey (Points)
Paul Hyland Jr bt Adam Dingsdale (1st Round Knockout)
Vacant IBF European Lightweight Championship
Mike Perez bt Viktor Biscak (1st Round Knockout)
James Tennyson bt Ryan Doyle (Retired Round 6)
Vacant WBA International Super-Featherweight /Championship
Sean Magee bt Jules Phillips (1st Round Knockout)
Luke Watkins bt Ian Tims ( 4th Round Knockout)
Irish Cruiserweight Title Fight
Paddy Gallagher bt Craig Kelly (3rd Round Stoppage)
Padraig McCrory bt Jacob Lucas (Points)
Super Middleweight Fight
Fergal McCrory bt Paul Holt ( 2nd RD Stoppage)
Super Featherweight Fight
Matthew Wilton bt William Warbutt (Points)
Super Welterweight Fight
Tyrone McCullagh bt Jose Aguilar (Points)