Ryan Burnett back in training, vows to win another world title
By Tim Royner: Former IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett (19-1, 9 KOs) has resumed training following his loss to Nonito Donaire last November in the World Boxing Super Series 118 lb tournament in Glasgow, Scotland. Burnett, 26, took a knee in the 4th round of that fight after suffering a back injury.
Burnett told Belfastlive.co.uk that the muscle tore from the bone in his hip during the fight, which led to him being stopped in the 4th. Burnett had to be taken out of the ring on a stretcher. Fortunately, Burnett was able to heal without surgery, but it’s still too early to know whether he’ll be able to continue fighting. It’s unclear when Burnett will be able to resume his career. The way the fight ended with Burnett going down with an injury, it saved him from potentially being knocked out by Donaire, who was punching with a lot of authority during the contest. Burnett looked in shock from the moment the fight started, and he wasn’t going to win even if he was 100 percent healthy.
Although he’s back in training, he doesn’t have a date set for his next fight. He’s going to training slowly to make sure he doesn’t re-injure his hip. Burnett says he was told that the injury won’t happen again. Of course, the only way for Burnett to know that for sure if by continuing his career, and showing that he’s able to fight without the problem flaring up on him.
“I will become world champion again – 100 per cent. I have got to get back and become world champion again,” Burnett said to the Belfastlive.co.uk. “I have been told the injury shouldn’t happen again. It was just a freak incident.”
It’s going to be VERY difficult for Burnett to recapture another world title at 118, as long as guys like Naoya Inoue, Zolani Tete, Nonito Donaire, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Luis Nery are out there. Those are all guys that would have a very good chance of beating Burnett. There’s a good chance that Burnett can win another world title, as long as it’s the right situation against a vulnerable fighter.
It’s not realistic to assume that Burnett is going to bet Inoue, Tete or Nery. Those three are pretty special. But IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (17-0, 12 KOs) and Donaire are guys that Burnett might be able to beat if he’s at his best, and doesn’t get hit too much. Rodriguez is very beatable, because he’s not a huge puncher. The problem is, Rodriguez is about to face “Monster” Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) in the World Boxing Super Series on May 18 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Inoue, 25, is a big favorite to win that fight, which would make him the IBF/WBA bantamweight champion. Newly crowned WBC 118 lb champion Nordine Ouabaali could be an option for Burnett to target if he can get a high enough ranking and/or if his promoter can set him with a title shot against him. One problem with that is Luis Nery (28-0, 22 KOs) is targeting Ouabaali, and he’s ranked #1 with the World Boxing Council at this time.
If Burnett has to go through Nery to try and win a world title with the WBC, that’s going to be about as tough for him to do as it would be if he went through Inoue. The southpaw Nery is a major talent with a rare mix of speed, power and boxing skills. Burnett would be really up against it if he were to face Nery anytime soon. The 118 lb division is like a minefield for Burnet, and it doesn’t get better for him if he moves up to 122 or moves down to 115.
At super flyweight [115 lbs], Burnett would have to compete against talented fighters like Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Khalid Yafai, Donnie Nietes and Jerwin Ancajas. None of those fighters are easy outs. If Burnett is slightly drained in going down to 115, he’s going to be a sitting duck for those guys. Yafai is considered to be the weakest link among the champions at super flyweight, but he’s still a very good fighter in his own right. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn wants to match Yafai against Nietes. If that fight happens, then Nietes will likely win that one. Burnett will have lost out on his best chance to capture a belt, not that he’s even considerig moving down to the 115 lb weight class at this time.
Donaire was teeing off on Burnett from the third round, and even if he hadn’t suffered the injury, it was looking bad with the way he was getting hit.
Donaire’s punching power looked devastating at at 118. His power goes a lot further in the bantamweight division than it did when he was fighting at 122 and 126. At 122, Donaire was a huge puncher, but his power wasn’t as devastating when he moved up to featherweight. Now that Donaire is back at his old weight class of bantamweight, he looks hard to beat. It’s going to take someone like Tete or Inoue to beat him. It would be nice to see Burnett attempt to avenge his loss to Donaire before he goes after the other lions in the 118 lb division like Inoue, Nery, Rodriguez and Tete. It’s just more than a little doubtful whether Burnett can beat Donaire. The Filipino star has too much power in this weight class for a guy with average power like Burnett.
“Then I will return to the ring to win that world title,” Burnett said.
Burnett won his world titles in back to back fights in beating IBF bantamweight champion Lee Haskins by a 12 round unanimous decision in June 2017, and then WBA champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov by a 12 round decision in October of that year. Burnett’s fight with Zhakiyanov was an unusual one where he spent most of the fight wrestling with the Kazakhstan fighter. It was similar to how Andre Ward fought Sergey Kovalev in their first fight in 2016, but with a lot more wrestling involved. Burnett would throw a punch, and then tie Zhakiyanov up and grapple for a pro long period of time before the referee would finally break the two fighters. The process would then start again with Burnett throwing a single punch and then diving forward to initiate more clinches. It wasn’t a pretty fight to watch. Burnett fought a lot better in beating Yonfrez Parejo by a 12 round unanimous decision last March in a successful title defense.
If Burnett isn’t able to come back from his hip injury, he still has to be viewed as having had a successful career. Not too many fighters are able to capture two world titles during their careers.