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Heartbroken Ryan Burnett may get rematch with Nonito Donaire

By David Kelly

Dejected Ryan Burnett has been given the hope of a rematch with Nonito Donaire, once the World Boxing Super Series has come to an end.

Burnett sustained a suspected slipped disc on Saturday night, which forced him to retire against Donaire, though despite a further scan yesterday there has been no official confirmation of the injury that led to him being stretchered from the ring in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena.

Burnett lost his World Boxing Super Series quarter-final and WBA world bantamweight title to the Filipino Flash when unable to come out for the fifth round, having fallen to the canvas in the fourth in agony as he tried to throw a right hand.

In an Instagram post, Burnett said: “I’m absolutely heart broke. My back went, I tried to continue but I was simply in too much pain, this is boxing. I’m gutted but it was completely out of my control, thank you everyone for your support.”

Just when he is able to return to the ring remains uncertain but Donaire’s promoter Richard Schaefer says there is a real chance he could have another crack at the Filipino legend.

“We would certainly be open to a rematch once Nonito wins the tournament if that would then be the biggest fight to be made,” said Schaefer.

“Nonito is at the point in his career that he would always want the biggest fights. 

“I think Ryan needs to heal up, stay positive and pursue big fights so that when the time comes a rematch would be a massive fight.”

Burnett will have also been encouraged by promoter Kalle Sauerland, who organises the World Boxing Super Series, suggesting that he could return to the event as a reserve for the final, if he manages to recover in time.

There will naturally be a concern that this latest back injury, seven years on from when he had an issue with a bulging disc, will somehow leave a weakness.

Nevertheless, Burnett’s natural competitive instinct will no doubt drive him to return to the ring and seek further world title glory, having won IBF and WBA bantamweight titles last year.

The WBSS will continue early next year when Donaire meets hard-hitting South African Zolani Tete, the WBO bantamweight champion. On the other side of the draw, IBF champion Manny Rodriguez faces explosive hitter Nagoya Inoue, with the two semi-final victors expected to face each other by the end of June.

Burnett will have to bide his time as all four major belts are expected to be tied up.

Going into the tournament, Burnett had insisted: “This tournament is the best against the best and at the end it will show who the No.1 bantamweight is and that is Ryan Burnett.”

It seems he is now going to have to wait a lot longer for the chance to prove that.

Meanwhile, ring legend Floyd Mayweather will make a remarkable return to action in Japan on New Year’s Eve when he takes on kickboxer and mixed martial artist Tenshin Nasukawa.

Mayweather is widely regarded as the greatest boxer of his generation but seemingly retired after taking his perfect professional record to 50-0 by defeating UFC star Conor McGregor in August last year.

Talk of a comeback has been steadily building in recent months but Mayweather’s decision to partner up with the Rizin Fighting Federation — an MMA promotion company — still comes as a shock.

It is unknown whether the showdown in the city of Saitama will be under boxing, kickboxing or MMA rules, which Mayweather hopes will be resolved in “the next couple of weeks”.

Speaking at a press conference to promote Rizin 14, the 41-year old said: “I wanted to do something different. It doesn’t matter where the fight is but it’s in a special place. I always wanted to display my skills outside the US and be in a special fight.”

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