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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Burnett and Warrington set for hometown victories

Big nights in Belfast and Leeds

Ryan Burnett sends shivers down Lee Haskins' spine
1 of 1

Burnett v Zhakiyanov
Sky Sports Action Saturday
Warrington v Ceylan 
BT Sport 1, 8.30pm Saturday

Two undefeated hometown heroes head live cards on Sky and BT Sport, with Belfast bantamweight world champion Ryan Burnett making a first defence against Ricky Hatton-trained Kazakh Zhanat Zhakiyanov and Leeds featherweight Josh Warrington in a world-title eliminator against Denmark's Dennis Ceylan. 

Both men are odds-on to win on points, but don't let that put you off going down obvious routes. 

Burnett puts his IBF belt on the line against WBA champ Zhakiyanov and it should be a good fight. The Kazakh has been under Hatton's wing since 2013 and is known for his high workrate and explosive power.

Hatton used to train both fighters so they have shared many rounds of sparring, but that won't stop them going to war.

An intimidating Belfast crowd is unlikely to bother Zhakiyanov. He won his belt in February when he travelled to Ohio as a 7-2 underdog, but survived two first-round knockdowns to take the title from Rau'shee Warren on a split-decision. 

He is around 3-1 to beat Burnett, so according to the markets this is an easier fight, but it's likely to be tougher, because Burnett has the skills and temperament to take care of business.

Zhakiyanov has never been stopped and Burnett is not known for his power despite his hands-down style. His last six have gone to the scorecards and this looks like going the same way.

It should be a similar story in Leeds, where extremely popular Warrington is a big favourite to beat Ceylan. 

Ceylan is no mug - he beat Ryan Walsh on a split-decision for the European title last year - but Warrington is capable of beating him to land a world title shot.

Only five of Warrington's 25 wins have been by stoppage so the judges are likely to be needed. 

R Burnet to win on points
1pt 5-6 Betbright, Coral, Ladbrokes
J Warrington to win on points
1pt 4-6 Betfair, Paddy Power

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The Kazakh has been under Hatton's wing since 2013 and is known for his high workrate and explosive power
E.W. Terms
Sky bet