Return to the ring CONFIRMED for Ryan Burnett – at a NEW WEIGHT


Ryan Burnett [19(9)-1(1)] will make his return to the ring next month – and will do so at a new weight.

It has been officially confirmed this evening that Burnett will headline the recently announced #MTKFightNight at the Ulster Hall in Belfast on Friday May 17th.

It will be Burnett’s first fight back since losing his WBA bantamweight world title status under cruel circumstances last Novemeber and he will return in the 122lbs super bantamweight class.

The Antrim Road man will ease back into things opponent-wise but still has the opportunity to put himself in line for major fights when he takes on Filipino southpaw Jelbirt Gomera [14(7)-5(2)] for the WBC International rankings title.

Burnett has recovered rapidly from a detached and torn oblique suffered in his World Boxing Super Series quarter-final retirment defeat to Nonito Donaire in Glasgow.

The former unified champion has been updating fans regarding his recovery and has been back in Adam Booth’s gym recently alongside fellow Belfast star Mick Conlan – who is moving from featherweight down to super bantamweight.

26-year-old ‘Panther’ Gomera should pose no problems for Burnett who will be looking to make sure he is firing on all cylinders following recovery from a painful and serious injury.

While he is a former Phillipine champion, Gomera’s journeys up in class have all ended in defeat – by seventh-round stoppage to Chinese cash cow Can Xu and on points versus Japan’s Hidenori Otake.

A win for Burnett should see him enter the WBC rankings and see him move towards the green belt currently held by Golden Boy’s Rey Vargas.

27 a few days after fight night, the move up in weight looks to make sense for Burnett who has long been described as being tight at the weight – as well as the fact that three of the division’s titles being tied up in the WBSS.

He joins Conlan and Ireland’s only reigning male world champion TJ Doheny – who puts his IBF belt on the line in a unification this month versus WBA titlist Danny Roman – in the super bantamweight class. The other title, the WBO, is held by Emanuel Naverrete who rematches Isaac Dogboe in June – with Derry’s Tyrone McCullagh also highly-rated by this organisation.

Burnett’s position within Matchroom Promotions is currently unclear, with the fighter still featuring on the outfit’s official website but with next month’s card being in association with rival Top Rank.

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The Ulsterman came under the MTK managerial banner last month when his trainer and manager booth linked up with the outfit.

‘The Dark Lord’ Booth said that “myself and MTK Global have a plan to get Ryan back to where he should be, which is world champion status.”

“His hunger and desire are greater than ever before so there’s no doubt he can head back to the top. Enjoy the ride.”

MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan said that “this is just fantastic news for everyone concerned. We’re delighted to be welcoming Ryan and Adam to another huge event in Belfast.”

“Ryan’s achievements speak for themselves. He unified as a world champion, and we believe it’s only a matter of time before he’s back at the very top of the sport.”

“Belfast fans and all those who come from outside the city to this event are in for a real treat. These shows with our friends at Top Rank and ESPN+ are already getting bigger and bigger.”

The undercard in just over five weeks’ time will also feature an all-Irish super featherweight clash between Marco McCullough and Deco Geraghty, with much more to be confirmed shortly.

The card will not be televised in Ireland and the UK – although will be available to watch live on YouTube. In America, the show will be shown on the ESPN+ app.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie