World Boxing Super Series: Nonito Donaire wins WBA Bantamweight Championship after Ryan Burnett suffers Injury
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: November 03, 2018
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – At the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland the quarterfinals for the bantamweight (118) portion of the World Boxing Super Series took place featuring former four-division champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) against Ryan Burnett (19-1, 9 KOs). Coming into the bout, Burnett was considered the favorite after having relatively dominated his last two opponents and even unified the IBF and WBA bantamweight titles. Burnett did not end up keeping both titles having relinquished the IBF bantamweight title.
Donaire was coming into the bout as the veteran fighter at 35 years of age compared to Burnett’s 26 and having lost his last match to former two-division champion Carl Frampton at featherweight (126). The previous time Donaire fought in the bantamweight division was in 2011 where he scored one of the most prominent knockouts of his career against Fernando Montiel and then defeated Argentina’s Omar Narvaez by decision. Since that point of Donaire ’s career, it has been filled with ups and downs with more low points than high points.
The World Boxing Super Series tournament is likely Donaire’s final opportunity to leave a mark in the sport in what will be a hall-of-fame career. Burnett-Donaire is the quintessential crossroads bout leaving the winner and loser on different paths.
The fight started with both men exchanging jabs in the center of the ring. It was clear from the beginning of the match that Burnett was the faster fighter with the ability to throw punches in combination. In the middle of the ring, Burnett had the advantage with his hand speed, while Donaire would attempt to throw more punches when Burnett had his back against the ropes. On the ropes, Burnett was able to showcase his upper body movement evading most of Donaire’s punches.
For much of the latter part of Donaire’s career he has had a low volume in the number of punches he throws per fight, against Burnett he looked like the bigger fighter but instead of waiting for a perfect punch to throw, Donaire was boxing and landing occasional counter punches. However, Burnett was landing the cleaner punches in the rounds and was likely awarded the first three rounds of the fight.
In the fourth round, Burnett threw a right hand and then immediately grabbed the right side of his back taking a knee. Burnett was able to beat the referee's ten count, but it was clear that something was severely wrong with his back. Donaire wasted no time to seize the opportunity to finish off Burnett by backing him up against the ropes. This time Donaire was able to land several right hands on Burnett who took the punches well.
At the end of the round, Burnett grabbed the ropes to help him back to his corner. After speaking with his trainer, the fight was put to a stop, as it was clear that Burnett would not be able to continue. Donaire was awarded a technical knockout victory and is now the WBA “super” bantamweight champion.
While technically speaking this was the most significant victory for Donaire in quite some time; he did not celebrate in the same manner as if he scored a real knockout. In and out of the ring Donaire is one of the most respectful fighters in the entire sport and showed his class by checking on Burnett who would eventually leave the ring on a stretcher. Depending on how the rest of the tournament goes for Donaire, should Burnett be able to recover from his back injury a rematch could be set to take place.
Donaire will move on the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament and face off with WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs).
(Featured Photo: World Boxing Super Series)