By Elliot Foster
Ryan Burnett could yet have a way back into the World Boxing Super Series.
The Northern Irishman was knocked out of the tournament last weekend after withdrawing from his quarter-final through injury.
Burnett, the WBA Super world bantamweight champion, was taking on Nonito Donaire at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, exclusively live on iFL TV in the UK and DAZN in the States.
But disaster struck for the former British, WBO European and WBC International champion in the fourth round of his clash with ‘Filipino Flash’, who also claimed the vacant WBC Diamond title with the win.
The 26-year-old was pulled out by his head trainer, Adam Booth, after he was injured during the opening third of his first fight in the Muhammad Ali Trophy Tournament.
Burnett was given oxygen by paramedics in the ring before being stretchered away and taken to hospital with a suspected slipped disc.
Despite this, Burnett has been handed a lifeline by Comosa AG’s chief boxing officer Kalle Sauerland.
“I fear that the injury is not a good one, but I’m not a doctor,” Sauerland told Boxing Scene after a press conference with Nonito Donaire last Saturday. “I heard he had a similar injury when he was a kid, but I don’t know. It’s up to him and his team to come out and make a statement on that.
“He’s a lovely guy with a great team around him and if he’s available for the semis it would be amazing to have him as a reserve.
“I think it [the tournament] might be over [for Burnett] but we’ll see.”
Donaire had plenty of encouraging words to say about Burnett in the aftermath of their fight.
“As a warrior, as a fighter, you’ve got a guy like Burnett, who is an amazing, amazing fighter. Early on he just kept coming and was a great, great fighter –– and to go that way wasn’t [the way] I’d like to win,” he said.
“A win is a win but I’ve got to give it to Burnett –– he is an amazing fighter. He was fast and was strong as well, he caught me with pretty punchers,” he added before suggesting he tried to box rather than bully Burnett on his return to bantamweight for the first time in seven years.
“I was a little bit more fighting like a bigger guy coming into this fight so my coaches snapped me out of it. [They told me] ‘You’ve got to box, you can box now, you don’t have to lay all your eggs in one basket,’ and that’s what I started to do and started to used my speed like I usually had –– and again, Burnett is an amazing fighter and Glasgow was a bit chilly but the fans were amazing.”
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