Former bantamweight world titlist Ryan Burnett has been diagnosed with a torn oblique muscle on his right side, he announced Friday.
Burnett suffered the injury last Saturday when he lost his 118-pound world title to Nonito Donaire by fifth-round technical knockout in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Firstly, THANK YOU to everyone for your support and kind messages,” Burnett wrote on social media. “I want to thank Nonito Donaire for sharing the ring with me, and for being a man of such great character, and I wish him all the best for the remainder of the WBSS.
“I am absolutely gutted not to be World Champion. This scenario was totally out of my control, but I understand. Injury is the difficult part of sporting life. My assessments have been completed, and diagnosed that I have torn muscle fibers in my right internal oblique, where a portion of the muscle has also detached from the bone where it inserts.”
Burnett (19-1, 9 KOs), 26, of Northern Ireland, who was making his third title defense, was the No. 1 seed in the eight-man field. He met the unseeded Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs), 35, a Philippines native fighting out of Las Vegas, for the right to advance to the semifinals for a world title unification fight with South Africa’s Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs), 30, who retained his belt by competitive decision over Mikhail Aloyan in an Oct. 13 quarterfinal.
Donaire, who has won world titles in four weight classes, dropped down to bantamweight for his first fight in the division since 2011 and pulled the upset when Burnett could not continue because of the injury.
The fight was highly competitive and exciting until late in the fourth round when Burnett suffered the injury, apparently while throwing a right hand. He was in so much pain that he took a knee for a knockdown. Burnett finished the round, but he was barely able to move as Donaire blasted him with heavy punches. Adam Booth, Burnett’s trainer, eventually stopped the fight one second into the fifth round because Burnett was unable to continue.
“This is not a career ending injury, but is one that will require intensive treatment and rehabilitation,” Burnett wrote. “I will pick myself up, make myself strong again, and get back to where I believe I belong, as Champion of The World.”
After the fight, Donaire paid tribute to Burnett, writing on social media that he wanted 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!”