We have the first big upset of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament, but it came in strange fashion.
Nonito Donaire, fighting at bantamweight for the first time since 2011, scored a TKO win victory over top-seeded Ryan Burnett to win the WBA “super” bantamweight title. The stoppage came as a result of Burnett suffering a back injury in the fourth round after throwing a punch.
Burnett started out well, landing several combinations to Donaire. Donaire was able to hold his own against Burnett, even landing a couple of right uppercuts in the second round, but was still susceptible to getting hit hard by Burnett’s right hand.
In the fourth round, Burnett threw a right hand, but immediately threw out his back and had to take a knee. Burnett came right back up but the injured back forced him to be cornered by Donaire as Donaire unleashed a flurry of punches while the now-former champion could only defend.
Once the round was over, Burnett and his trainer had a very brief conversation until the referee came in. Burnett was unable to continue and so the referee stopped the fight. The official time of the stoppage was one second into the fifth round.
It is the first time Donaire has held a bantamweight world title since retaining the unified WBO and WBC titles against Omar Narvaez in late 2011. Now with the win, Donaire advances to the World Boxing Super Series semifinals where he will have a shot at reclaiming the WBO title when he faces Zolani Tete. That fight is planned to take place sometime in early 2019.