Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Boxing

Not the way I'd want to win against 'warrior' Burnett, says Filipino Flash after cruel injury denies Belfast fighter of title chance

Filipino Flash Nonito Donaire said the injury which forced Ryan Burnett to retire from their bout was not the way he wanted to win, hailing the Belfast fighter a "warrior" who looked set to give him a good test.

Burnett was left in tears when a freak injury robbed him of his WBA World bantamweight title and a money-spinning showdown with WBO champion Zolani Tete in Glasgow's SSE Hydro Arena last night.

Tete's manager Mlandeli Tengimfene admitted he had hoped his fighter would be facing Burnett in Belfast and they were looking forward to a return to the city.

Donaire became the new champion after Belfast lad Burnett was retired by his coach Adam Booth at the end of the fourth round, having seconds earlier fallen to the canvas after sustaining a suspected slipped disc in his back in their World Boxing Super Series Quarter-Final.

The 26-year-old could be heard telling trainer Adam Booth: "I cannot move it. I cannot throw a shot."

Later he dropped to his knees after attempting to throw a punch forcing him to pull out.

Burnett left in agony on a stretcher due to the injury which came when his foot seemed to stick in the canvas as his body drove into throwing a right at his rival, who became a world bantamweight champion again, seven years on from holding the WBO belt.

Burnett had been lined up to face big rival Tete in Belfast with the SSE Arena held for March 9 by the WBSS organisers but the South African will now take on new champion Donaire.

It was a gut-wrenching end to Burnett's bid to win the Muhammad Ali trophy having entered the tournament as the number one seed and it would seem that it will be some time before he is able to return to the ring.

New champion Donaire was magnanimous in victory, immediately consoling the heartbroken Belfast man who had wanted to continue but was wisely told by coach Adam Booth that he couldn't carry on.

"As a warrior, as a fighter, you've got to give credit to Burnett, who is an amazing fighter. Early on he kept coming at me and that isn't the way I'd like to win but a win is a win. I've got to give it to Burnett, he is an amazing fighter," said Donaire.

"He was fast, the guy was strong as well. He caught me with pretty good punches. But I felt strong, I felt like a bigger guy in the ring again now I am back down at bantamweight.

"But my coaches told me to box, not to just put all my eggs in one basket and that's what I started to do. I used my speed.

"Tete is a formidable fighter but coming into the fight I knew I still had that speed and I will be faster next time around."

Tete's manager Mlandeli Tengimfene, speaking exclusively to Sunday Life last night, admitted that he had hoped his fighter would be facing Burnett in Belfast.

"We have been calling for this fight for a long time and Ryan Burnett was the one we wanted to fight in the Semi-Final," said Tengimfene.

"We were very happy to do it in Belfast because that has become a happy hunting ground for us - Zolani has had two good wins there. We have always enjoyed fighting in Belfast, we trained at the Monkstown club and were given great support. It has become a second home for us."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph