HOT Belfast prospect Ryan Burnett has been granted a license from the British Boxing Board of Control and is ready to make a splash in the bantamweight division.
As an amateur, the 20-year-old won 94 or 98 contests, picking up seven All-Ireland titles, six Antrim titles, four Ulster titles and a gold medal at the Youth Olympics.
He was all set to enter the paid ranks in a blaze of glory in early 2012, but questions over his medical meant almost 12 months of inactivity.
Thankfully, after consultation with specialists, he’s now been given the green light to get his career started and he’s keen to make up for lost time.
“It’s been a nearly a year and it’s been a frustrating wait but thankfully it’s sorted now,” Ryan said.
“I never let things get to me, though. I keep in the gym, keep working on things and kept learning.
“I feel I’ve got a bit of time to make up now and I’m want to rock on. I can’t wait to get in there now and I definitely want to go back to my home town, Belfast, and have a few fights at some point as well.”
Ricky Hatton, who on top of his duties as Ryan’s promoter also trains the Northern Irish man, believes his charge will soon be hot on the heels of the UK’s best fighters at 8st 6lbs.
“I am extremely excited about this young man entering the professional ranks,” The Hitman said.
“I’ve been working with him for a while now and ever since he walked into the gym I thought this kid is a special talent.
“I believe he will go all the way and follow in the footsteps of so many of Ireland’s finest that have gone before him.
“That’s providing he has all the attributes needed, like self-belief, dedication, chin and the ability to keep his feet on the ground once all the praise and pats on his back come his way.”