The Belfast fighter suffered injury and heartache as he was forced out of his World Boxing Super Series quarter-final with Nonito Donaire between rounds four and five of a Glasgow-hosted fight last last weekend.
The injury saw the former unified champion lose his WBA bantamweight title, his unbeaten record and a place in the semi-finals of a tournament that offered him the chance to unify three world titles and add some serious names to his record.
The extent of the injury has yet to be revealed and some are questioning whether it is serious enough to have serious implications on the former Olympic Youth gold medal winner’s career.
However, Burnett has not only shown resilience before by battling to secure a licence to box, but has recovered from a similar injury suffered in the amateurs.
The Adam Booth-trained bantamweight previously pointed out that a back injury was the reason the highly touted underage amateur’s senior career didn’t take off.
It was a bulging disc that was the issue at the turn of the decade and, in an interview with BoxNation back when he was being courted by Frank Warren, Burnett explained that “shortly after [the Youth Olympics] I picked up a back injury which kept me out for about a year, so I never really accomplished much as a senior. In my last amateur bout I lost to Michael Conlan by just a point in the Irish Seniors.”
“For such a young man to have that kind of injury was serious. Getting physio for five or six months to try and put it right,”
Indeed, it seems that injury and the time out in enforced was the catalyst for the now-26-year-old to turn pro.
“During my time out, I started to think about the pro game and how my style might be better suited to it.”
“It is proper fighting. I loved the thought of cracking people with the little leather gloves!”
Burnett, after being discharged by a hospital in Glasgow on Saturday night, underwent scans on Monday to determine the severity of an injury which he apparently carried into the bout before having worsened exponentially.
A slipped disc is what has been mentioned most – although not by Burnett’s team. Full, accurate diagnosis of the injury is still forthcoming and it would be unwise to speculate.
Should whatever injury he has suffered heal within a certain timescale, and his team feel it the right move, WBSS Chief Boxing Officer Kalle Sauerland has stated that he would like to use Burnett as an alternate in the semi-finals next year.
Away from this, WBO champ Zolani Tete, who looks to unify versus Donaire in the semis, has promised to come to Belfast after the tournament to defend against Burnett should he win outright.