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Ryan Burnett has been announced that he will be featuring on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s world title unification clash with Joseph Parker on the 31st of March in Cardiff. Ryan will be defending his WBA world bantamweight title against Yonfrez Parejo of Venezuela at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff live on Sky Sports Office, however, It has come at a price for Belfast’s Burnett who has had to vacate his IBF world title in the process.

The situation has come to a head with the IBF following the world governing body’s decision to announce an interim world title bout between Emmanuel Rodriguez and former IBF world champion Lee Haskins due to injury on behalf of Burnett. However, with the interim title fight falling through between Rodriguez and Haskins collapsing, the IBF called that Burnett and Rodriguez to enter discussions to arrange the mandatory contest. It had since transpired that Rodriguez was unwilling to hold discussions with Burnett and Matchroom Boxing forcing purse bids, with a deal already in place for Burnett to face WBA mandatory Parejo. This has resulted in Burnett being forced to vacate his IBF world title with Rodriguez set to contest the vacant title against the highest available contender which is Paul Butler, former IBF world bantamweight champion and also handled by Matchroom Boxing.

Burnett’s opponent on March 31st contests his first  “full” world title fight and boxes outside of Latin America for only the second time in his career to date. Parejo holds professional record of 21 wins 2 draws and a sole to his name and is a two-time interim title challenger within the WBA organisation at 118lbs. The most notable names on the slate of Parejo are the Hatton handled former WBA world champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov and former WBC world bantamweight champion Hugo Ruiz of Mexico.

Speaking via press release, Burnett says he is excited to fight on a bill of such magnitude and avoided talking about the politics involved with the IBF.

“I’m delighted to be added to this show it’s going to be an incredible experience to defend my World title in front of 80,000 in Cardiff,” said Burnett. “I don’t really get involved in the politics but we knew that when we face Zhakiyanov that is was likely we may have to vacate one of the belts because of mandatories 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 detailed the issues with the IBf and the reasoning why as a team that vacating the IBF world title was the best option.

“The IBF called an interim title bout between Rodriguez and Haskins so we proceeded to make the fight with our WBA mandatory Parejo,” said Burnett’s promoter Eddie Hearn. “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.”


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