Former four division world champion Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire 39-5 (25) has shocked the boxing world by defeating WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett 19-1 (5) by TKO5 when the Belfast boxer was forced to withdraw at the end of the fourth round with an apparent back injury in the quarterfinal of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday night.
“Burnett is an amazing fighter, early on he just kept coming at me. A win is a win and it wasn’t the way I would like to win, but he’s an amazing fighter,” said Donaire in his post-fight interview.
“Age is nothing but a number. He was fast, strong and caught me with some good punches. I came into this fight as the bigger guy and my coaches snapped me out of it and told me to box.
“I then started to use my speed and fight the way I usually do, which is the Filipino Flash.”
The 26-year-old Northern Irishman had the edge in speed while Donaire was landing the harder shots until the fourth round when a counter right hand from Burnett caused the champion to clutch his side and immediately take a knee.
Referee Howard Foster applied a mandatory eight-count, which Burnett duly beat, but he struggled with movement for the remainder of the round and had difficulty walking back to his corner when the bell rang to end the round.
The injury forced Burnett to retire on his stool and he was unable to make it out of his corner for the fifth round.
Donaire will now face South Africa’s WBO champion Zolani Tete 28-3 (21) who unseated former amateur star Mikhail Aloyan 4-1 in Russia last month.
“Tete is a formidable opponent, but I always say I’ll be victorious. I’ll be even faster in that fight,” said Donaire.
The 35-year-old Filipino-American veteran was a wildcard entry into the WBSS after competing as a featherweight for the past two years. His last fight at 118-pounds was a second-round technical knockout of WBA and WBO bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel almost eight years ago.