Lee Haskins vs Ryan Burnett
IBF bantamweight world champion, Bristolian, Lee Haskins, travels to defend his title, fighting a young, unbeaten challenger in his home town of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Highly rated talent, Irish Ryan Burnett, has a lot to prove, but has a great opportunity.
The fight starts tentatively, as Haskins tries to find openings, tries to land something to catch the eye of the judges, Burnett, taking no bait, waiting patiently for Haskins to give him a chance to counter. There is little commitment from either fighter, but it looks as if Burnett is edging out the majority of the duration of the first few rounds, as he lands with the cleaner, harder punches, though Haskins lands more sometimes, Haskins lands almost only glancing blows. Both fighters suffer cuts, Burnett, sustaining a particularly unsightly gash, a test of his character, which he seems to pass, as the sting, the blood doesn't faze him at all, but Haskins, maybe looking as if he will find more tools as the fight goes on.
It is hard to make a case that Haskins is ahead after 5 rounds, and to make matters worse for the champion, it is the challenger who gains momentum, who improves in the next round, round 6, as he hurts, drops a disorganised looking Haskins.
The last 6 rounds of the fight are lacklustre, but they are also very impressive from Ryan Burnett, he clearly wins all 6 of them, with Haskins, looking nullified, confused, having all his weapons negated, being beaten at his own game, and a not only that, but as well as outboxing the champion, catching him on the counter, doing just enough to win all the rounds, Burnett drops him again, putting him down in round 11, before boxing his way to what has to be a wide victory, as the fight had been very one sided in his favour.
It is announced that the result is a split decision, shocked sounds of horror and rage echo throughout the Arena, Burnett, looking terrified, understandably, Haskins, gobsmacked, knowing he hasn't won the fight. 2 judges scorecards the fight in Burnett's favour, by a lopsided but fair, accurate score of 12 points, whilst the third score is so ridiculously bad, it is obvious that an error has occured, as Haskins wins on the scorecard, by 10 points, having 118 points on his side of the scoresheet, though he was dropped in 2 rounds, 2 rounds he certainly wouldn't have won had he not been dropped, 2 blatant 10-8 rounds, so he would have had to have a maximum of 116 points on his side, based on that information alone. There is a lot of controversy and annoyance regarding the scoring of the fight, but in the end, the right man gets the win, and Ryan Burnett becomes the new IBF bantamweight world champion.