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Ryan Burnett retires due to injuries

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By Barry Holbrook: Former IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett officially announced his retirement from boxing on Friday due to injuries. The 27-year-old Burnett (20-1, 10 KOs) suffered torn muscle fibers from his internal oblique during a 4th round defeat to Nonito Donaire last year in November 2018 in the WBSS tourney.

Going against the huge punching Donaire may have been overreach on Burnett’s part. Donaire trapped Burnett against the ropes and nailed him with a massive left hook to the head that caused the injury.

Unfortunately for Burnett, he couldn’t back from the injury. Although Burnett did fight once more in beating journeyman Jelbirt Gomera by a 6th round knockout last May, he decided to hang up his gloves.

Burnett talks about his retirement decision

“Although my retirement is forced through injuries, I carry a heart full of satisfaction and gratitude,”said Burnett in a statement. “I have achieved my childhood dream and secured my future heath, which is something no amount of money or titles can provide.

“I would like to thank everyone at MTK Global and Top Rank, Sky Sports and Matchroom Boxing for providing me the opportunity to fulfill my potential as a fighter.”

The news of Burnett’s retirement isn’t a huge surprise to boxing fans. It was expected by some that Ryan would be hanging up his gloves, because his career has stalled since the injury.

Burnett’s best wins came against Haskins and Zhakiyanov

The high points of Burnett’s short six-year career were his victories over world champions Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov. Burnett defeated International Boxing Federation bantamweight champion Haskins (36-4, 14 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on June 10, 2017. It was an impressive victory for Burnett won by the scores 119-107, 119-107 and 118-108. In Burnett’s next fight, he defeated the hard-hitting WBA bantamweight belt holder Zhakiyanov (27-2, 18 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on October 21, 2017.

Burnett used a negative style of wrestling and clinching to nullify Zhakiyanov’s offensive almost entirely. It was a fight where there almost no punching at all, as Burnett spent the entire time grappling. You can argue that Burnett did more wrestling than Andre Ward did in his first fight with Sergey Kovalev. Fortunately for Burnett, the referee didn’t dock points from him for all the holding he did. He could have done that.

Ryan’s lack of power would limit his opportunities 

If Burnett had continued his boxing career, he would find it hard to win a title at bantamweight with all the lions that are the division now. These are the fighters Burnett would have to contend with at 118 if he wanted to win another world title nowadays:

  • Naoya Inoue
  • Nordine Ouabaali
  • Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai
  • Zolani Tete
  • Johnriel Casimero
  • Nonito Donaire
  • Luis Nery
  • Emmanuel Rodriguez



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