Door still open for Ryan Burnett to rejoin WBSS as semi-final reserve
THE door remains open for Ryan Burnett to return to the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) fold as a reserve option, depending on how quickly he recovers from the back injury that forced him out of Saturday night’s quarter-final showdown with Nonito Donaire in Glasgow.
The north Belfast man had to retire on his stool at the end of the fourth round having dropped to the canvas in agony after throwing a right hand, and exited the SSE Arena on a stretcher.
As well as taking the WBA bantamweight belt Burnett ripped off Zhanat Zhakiyanov 12 months ago, Donaire also progresses to a semi-final clash with rangy South African Zolani Tete. That fight will take place in the first quarter of 2019, most likely around March/April.
The extent of Burnett’s back injury – understood to be a slipped disc - remains unclear at this stage, but Kalle Sauerland insists all is not lost for the 26-year-old’s WBSS ambitions.
Despite losing out to George Groves in last year’s super-middleweight semi-final, Chris Eubank jr remained in the frame for a possible final meeting with Callum Smith as a result of the shoulder injury Groves sustained late on that last four fight.
And Sauerland, chief boxing officer of tournament organiser Comosa AG, issued an open invitation to Burnett to rejoin the fray should anything happen to either Donaire or Tete ahead of their semi-final.
“It was a very unfortunate ending,” said Sauerland. “Ryan, I believe, has slipped a disc or has a back injury. Credit to him, he stood up, he tried to continue.
“Absolutely, there’s a way back. I fear this is not a good one, though I’m definitely not a doctor. He had a similar injury when he was a kid, but I don’t know. It’s for his team to come out and make a statement on.
“I just wish him a speedy recovery, he’s a lovely guy and he’s got a great team around him. If he’s available for the semis, of course, he would be an amazing reserve but I feel it might be early. We’ll see.
“I’ll extend the invitation now - if he’s available we’d love to talk to him about being a reserve in the semi-final, of course.”