Nonito Donaire stops injured Ryan Burnett, claims WBA bantamweight title
GLASGOW, Scotland – Nonito Donaire is a world titleholder once again following an entertaining fight that was tragically cut short due to injury.
The legendary four-weight world titleholder added the WBA bantamweight belt to his collection with a fifth-round stoppage over pre-fight favorite Ryan Burnett at the SSE Hydro on Saturday. The official time was 0:01.
Video replays confirmed that Burnett badly wrenched his hip after releasing a right hand in the fourth. The Belfast man went down on one knee and was clearly in distress for the remainder of the session. There was no way he could continue, and the corner retired their fighter as Round 5 began.
Burnett-Donaire was a quarterfinal bout in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) bantamweight tournament.
Donaire, who has competed as high as featherweight, returned to the 118-pound weight class for the first time in seven years and more than held his own prior to the injury. The action was intense from the opening bell with Burnett having the edge in speed and Donaire loading up on some huge power shots. The decorated ex-champion was looking to counter his opponent’s quick raids and there was more than one warning sign for Burnett when Donaire trapped him against the ropes.
“Burnett is an amazing fighter,” acknowledged Donaire in his post-fight interview with the WBSS. “It didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but a win is a win. I fought like the bigger guy in there and I was also able to box. I felt strong and I came in with power because I was the bigger guy. Age ain’t nothing but a number.”
Next up for Donaire will be semifinal bout against WBO bantamweight titleholder Zolani Tete, who scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Mikhail Aloyan in his WBSS quarterfinal last month.
“Tete is a formidable opponent, but I always say I’ll be victorious. I’ll be even faster in that fight,” said a confident Donaire.
Burnett, 26, will convalesce but has plenty of time to regroup and launch another assault at championship level.
Former IBF bantamweight titleholder Paul Butler stayed busy with a routine 10-round decision victory over Yoan Boyeaux. The Cheshire-based boxer-puncher had everything his own way, releasing sharp bursts up and down to keep his opponent honest. Referee Kenny Pringle was the sole judge and scored the bout 99-91. There were no knockdowns and neither fighter was seriously hurt.
Former WBC junior welterweight titleholder Viktor Postol got himself back in the win column with an easy 10-round points victory over the unheralded Siar Ozgul. Postol, who is rated No. 6 by The Ring at 140 pounds, was coming off a decision loss to Josh Taylor and simply kept his tools sharp against an inferior opponent.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing