NONITO Donaire Jr. crowned himself a world champion again on Saturday.
The 35-year-old Filipino rallied back to dethrone Ryan Burnett in a fifth round technical knockout and win the World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight title at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Time of stoppage came at the one second mark of the fifth as Burnett couldn’t continue after apparently hurting his back while throwing a right hand from an awkward stance in round four.
With Burnett unable to move, Donaire swarmed on him relentlessly until he took a knee. The deposed champion though, managed to survive the pounding, but could not proceed at the start of round five.
"A win is a win and it wasn't the way I would like to win but he's an amazing fighter," said Donaire after the 12-round bout.
Donaire was trailing in two of the judges’ scorecards, 37-38 and 37-38, while leading in the other, 38-37, when the bout was stopped.
"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," said the Filipino.
Donaire later wished Burnett well.
“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, magnanimous in victory seven years after last reigning as champion in the bantamweight division.
The ‘Filipino Flash,’ a former four-division world champion, improved to 39-5 (25 KOs) following the win that moved him in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS).
He now meets reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) title holder Zolani Tete of South Africa in a unification match by next year and a seat in the WBSS final.
Donaire joins boxing great Manny Pacquiao, Jerwin Ancajas, and Vic Saludar as among the current Filipino world champions.
It was a sorry loss for the 26-year-old Burnett from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who controlled the match by outpunching and outworking his Filipino opponent early on.
The defeat was the first in Burnett’s pro career, as his record fell to 19-1 (9 KOs).