by Nick GiongcoNewly-crowned World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight king Nonito Donaire was humble in victory as he praised Irish rival Ryan Burnett to high heavens following their showdown in Glasgow, Scotland, over the weekend.
“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,” said Donaire on Instagram.
Donaire had captured the WBA 119-lb crown after Burnett was told to remain on his stool by chief trainer Adam Booth after hurting his back in the fourth round.
Burnett had to reach for his lower back after throwing a punch and took a knee. Even though he got up, Burnett was unable to pose any serious threats to Donaire as he opted to dance away until the end of the fourth.
But it was learned that the injury happened sometime in the third round as Burnett complained to his corner during the break entering the fourth that he could not move his right hand.
A wicked left hook by Donaire landed during an assault in the second half of the third canto and ringsiders believe this could have triggered the shooting pain Burnett felt.
Reports also revealed Burnett had been sidelined in 2011 owing to a bulging disc on his back.
Donaire was behind on the scorecards when the end came but the soon-to-be-36-year-old Filipino-American was starting to pick up the phase.
“He (Burnett) 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 that I am back down at bantamweight,” Donaire, who has won world titles at fly, bantam, super-bantam and feather, told the UK media.
Despite being on the receiving end of Burnett’s stiff left jab and sneaky rights, Donaire insists that he was beginning to find his range.
“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.”
Up next for Donaire is South African WBO champion Zolani Tete, who holds wins over four Filipinos.
“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.”