Donaire wrests ‘bizarre’ WBA bantam belt from injured irish
Nonito Donaire Jr. became a world champion again after he scored a bizarre technical knockout win over Ireland’s Ryan Burnett in the World Boxing Super Series Saturday night in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
The 35-year-old Donaire scored a career-extending win after wresting Burnett’s WBA (World Boxing Association) crown after the Belfast-born fighter appeared to have injured his back and retired.
In scoring the win at SSE Hydro Arena, Donaire also made it to the semifinals of the bantamweight division of the unique tournament pitting champions and contenders across all four pro boxing governing bodies—World Boxing Council (WBC), WBA, International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO).
The four-division champion will next face WBO titlist Zolani Tete of South Africa early next year.
Tete defeated Russian Mikhail Aloyan in their quarterfinals last month.
Each WBSS division champion will pocket $10 million, the prestigious Muhammad Ali Trophy and the bragging rights as the unified champion.
“First off, I want to acknowledge and thank God and my archangels for everything they put before me tonight,” tweeted Donaire who slid back to 118 pounds where he scored many of his most explosive conquests.
“Next, I would like to send prayers of healing to Ryan Burnett and thank him for sharing the ring with me. I know he’ll heal up and be back in the ring soon,” he added.
Donaire and Burnett were engaged in an otherwise thrilling combat in the first four rounds before the Irish suddenly went down on his knees in pain, holding his back just before the end of the fourth round.
Burnett, erstwhile undefeated, waved before the fifth round could start and was stretchered out of the ring with Donaire holding the ropes for him, drawing plaudits for his “classy act.”
“Burnett is an amazing fighter. Early on he just kept coming at me,” said Donaire after the fight. “A win’s a win and it wasn’t the way I would like to win, but he’s an amazing fighter.” —MARC REYES