Boxing | Ryan Burnett forced to retire at 27
Ryan Burnett has announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 27.
The Belfast boxer, a former unified bantamweight world champion, has decided to hang up his gloves due to his injury issues.
“Although my retirement is forced through injuries, I carry a heart full of satisfaction and gratitude,” the 27-year-old said on Friday.
“I have achieved my childhood dream and secured my future heath, which is something no amount of money or titles can provide.
“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.”
Burnett (20-1) has not fought since May, when he produced a sixth-round knockout against Jelbirt Gomera at Ulster Hall.
That was his first fight since suffering his first professional defeat against Nonito Donaire at the World Boxing Super Series.
Burnett was forced to retire after four rounds after he sustained a serious back injury in the bout in Glasgow.
The Irish boxer won gold at the 2010 Youth Olympics as an amateur, before transitioning to the professional ranks two years later.
Burnett claimed his first title in his 11th pro fight, having won by stoppage against eight of his first 10 opponents.
On October 10th, 2015, he stopped Robert Kanalas in Manchester to win the vacant WBO European bantamweight title.
Burnett won his next five fights to set up a shot at the IBF bantamweight title against Lee Haskins in June 2017.
The Belfast native beat Haskins by unanimous decision to become a world champion in his hometown at the Oddysey Arena.
Just four months later, Burnett unified the division with a stunning unanimous decision win against WBA super world bantamweight champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast.
Burnett's victory made him just the third Irish fighter to unify world titles after Carl Frampton and Katie Taylor.
He defended his title successfully against Yonfrez Parejo at the Principality Stadium Cardiff in March 2018, but suffered the aforementioned freak injury against Donaire in his very next fight.
Though it is sad to see his career cut short by injury, Burnett can retire proud of all he has achieved in the sport.