The Belfast fighter has already unified belts in the bantamweight division and was given a chance to lay claim to being Ireland’s greatest ever puncher when he entered the World Boxing Super Series.
Victory in that tournament would have had to come after wins over some massive names and would have left Burnett with three of the division’s belts at the age of just 26.
However, just as he was laying down an early marker with a fine performance over global name Nonito Donaire in last November’s quarter-final, a freak injury forced his corner to pull him out at the end of the fourth round.
A torn oblique muscle that detatched from the bone left Burnett in sever pain and saw him suffer a first career defeat, lose his WBA title, and miss out on the chance to add a host more belts to his collection.
During the fall out of the reverse there were suggestions the Adam Booth trained fighter had endured back problems before, with a previous slipped disc being cited, and there were worries that it may be an issue moving forward.
However, the talented Antrim Road puncher has confirmed it was a ‘freak’ incident and one which won’t reoccur once he rehabilitates fully – and he promises supporters that he will find his way back to the top of the pile.
“I will become world champion again – 100 per cent. I have got to get back and become world champion again,” Burnett told Belfast Live.
“I have been told the injury shouldn’t happen again. It was just a freak incident.”
“The doctors told me it is the type of injury they see in people who have been involved in car crashes. They rarely see it happen in sport.”
“So I will continue my recovery and training and take things gradually. Then I will return to the ring to win that world title.”
Burnett is back training and ticking over at home in Belfast – a positive step considering he couldn’t move around Christmas time – but he isn’t too sure as to when he will be able to return the ring.
The Youth Olympic champion outlined how “we don’t know how long the recovery process will take, so I don’t have any dates in my head when I will return.”
“I have started training again, some bag work and running. Just to get my fitness back up again.”
“I am also building my core muscles up by doing some strength training. I am not sparring or anything like that, just building my strength and fitness up.
“I feel good and I can’t wait for what the future holds.”
The Burnett story already had a overcome adversity theme running right through it and a return from such a horror injury will be the latest chapter in his incredible story
Indeed, the fact he is still smarting over his Donaire defeat proves that, when he does return, he will be fully motivated to regain world title status.
“I am still not over what happened that night. Not just the injury, but suffering my first defeat and losing my world title. Also losing out in the World Boxing Super Series. All over a freak injury,” added the determined Irishman