Former unified world bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett has announced his retirement from professional boxing.
Burnett has hung them up at the tender age of 27 after injuries eventually took their toll.
Over the last few years, the Belfast fighter has had to deal with injuries sustained during competition and in training.
According to reports negotiating these setbacks of increasing number, with varying complexity and severity, has become more challenging.
His management team, MTK, said in a statement released this afternoon, that “having displayed the tenacity, endurance and grit to succeed to this point, Ryan has nothing left to prove as an athlete. With considerable thought, Ryan has rightly prioritised his own health and well being. He has decided that his best interests be served outside a boxing ring and has concluded that he should cease to compete as a professional fighter.”
One of only three Irish fighters [the others being Carl Frampton and Katie Taylor] to unify world titles, Burnett claimed he leaves the sport with his head held high and happy.
“Although my retirement is forced through injuries, I carry a heart full of satisfaction and gratitude. I have achieved my childhood dream and secured my future heath, which is something no amount of money or titles can provide,” he said.
“I would like to thank everyone at MTK Global and Top Rank, Sky Sports and Matchroom Boxing for providing me the opportunity to fulfil my potential as a fighter.”
While retirement comes a shock there has been talk with regard to something not being right in terms of Burnett over the last few weeks.
After returning from a freak back injury suffered in the ring during his WBSS quarterfinal clash with Nonito Donaire – a fight he was winning – with a comfortable and in parts classy win over Jelbirt Gomera and signing with Top Rank fans expected a soon enough return to the big time for the talented operator.
However, as the weeks progressed there was less news, no rumour and certainly no talk as to where or when Burnett would fight again.
The former IBF and WBA world champion was seen at MTK shows supporting his stablemates, but still not talk of a fight date surfaced.
It’s now clear, Burnett is still struggling with injuries and he has put his health first and called it a day.
Burnett (20-1, 10 KOs) won the IBF world bantamweight title in June 2017 with a dominant decision win over Lee Haskins, then unified four months later with a unanimous decision over WBA super world bantamweight champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov.
He ended his career on a winning note, knocking out Gomera in six rounds at the Ulster Hall in Belfast back in May.