By Keith Idec
Nonito Donaire comfortably came in below the limit Friday for his first bantamweight bout in seven years.
The former WBC/WBO bantamweight champ officially weighed 117½ pounds for his shot Saturday night at the WBA “super” world bantamweight title. Unbeaten champion Ryan Burnett weighed one ounce more than Donaire (117.8 pounds) when he stepped on the British Boxing Board of Control’s scale in Glasgow, Scotland.
Northern Ireland’s Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs) and Las Vegas’ Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs) will square off in a World Boxing Super Series 118-pound quarterfinal at SSE Hydro. The Burnett-Donaire winner will battle South Africa’s Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs), who owns the WBO bantamweight championship, in the semifinals on a date and at a site to be determined.
Donaire, 35, moved down two divisions for the opportunity to compete in the World Boxing Super Series. His last fight, a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton (26-1, 15 KOs), was contested at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds April 21 at SSE Arena in Belfast.
“The Filipino Flash” has won world titles in four weight classes. He last boxed at bantamweight in October 2011, when Donaire defeated Argentina’s Omar Narvaez by unanimous decision in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Burnett, 26, will make the second defense of his WBA 118-pound championship. He is a consensus 9-1 favorite over Donaire.
Moments after Donaire and Burnett stepped off the scale Friday, Josh Taylor and Ryan Martin made weight for their World Boxing Super Series 140-pound quarterfinal Saturday night.
Scotland’s Taylor (13-0, 11 KOs) officially weighed 139.1 pounds, almost a full pound below the limit for their 12-rounder. Cleveland’s Martin (22-0, 12 KOs) was two ounces heavier than Taylor (139.3), who is consistently listed as at least a 12-1 favorite entering their bout.
Taylor or Martin will move on to the WBSS’ 140-pound semifinals.
In that round, the Taylor-Martin winner will encounter Ivan Baranchyk (19-0, 12 KOs). Russia’s Baranchyk won the vacant IBF junior welterweight championship Saturday night, when he stopped Sweden’s Anthony Yigit (21-1-1, 7 KOs) following seven one-sided rounds at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.