Ryan Burnett vs Nonito Donaire WBSS – ‘Filipino Flash’ hails new trainer
Ahead of Ryan Burnett vs Nonito Donaire, the Filipino-American praises Brandon Woods
While veteran former four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire still looked as if he had something to offer during April’s absorbing clash with Carl Frampton, the fact remains that the Filipino-American was mostly a step behind and ultimately well beaten on the scorecards. His subsequent decision to enter the new season of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) at bantamweight – planning to hit 118lbs for the first time in around seven years – could be construed as a last roll of the dice, but with a new trainer in tow and a likely return to Belfast to challenge WBA Super champion Ryan Burnett in September or October, Donaire insists the move is an inspired one.
“I do have an addition, Brandon Woods, he’s gonna be head trainer,” Donaire explained. “He worked with [legendary Vegas coach] Kenny Adams for a long, long time as his second, 18-20 years. Kenny himself comes and goes in camp to give advice. It will make a big difference. Brandon is the same as Kenny, a similar demeanour, he don’t give a crap about excuses. It’s exciting to be refreshed. When you look at my previous fights I’ve always been looking for one punch, going out there head-hunting and that needs to change. I’ve got time to go back to being the ‘Filipino Flash’, the guy with speed and intelligence.
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“I always just ate throughout training camp, and I’ve always been a smaller guy going into fights, I never had a problem with weight. Now I’m back down to bantam I’m being similar to a lot of these guys, they are still losing a lot more weight than I am. I just have to cut down to a healthy eating fighter.”
As the top seed in the WBSS tournament, Burnett was able to pick between three of the four unseeded entrants as his quarter-final opponent – a mandated IBF title fight took champion Manny Rodriguez and his mandatory challenger Jason Mooney out of the selection equation. Belfast’s Burnett chose Donaire ahead of Dominican Juan Carlos Payano and former Russian amateur star Mikhail Aloyan, and 35-year-old Nonito think he understands why, even enjoying some social time with his future opponent, as he had post-fight with Frampton.
“I felt in the beginning a little surprised, but the Frampton fight showed a lot of my flaws and they fight similarly, so he felt he could best me; he’s very confident in his own ability,” Donaire observed of Burnett. “After the Draft Gala they had this after-party and we sat together, pretty much had dinner together. He’s a really good kid. It’s a sport, you’ve got to love the sport; I love what I do, and I’m not out there trying to fight everybody outside the ring. I respect all the fighters, I know how hard we go through training camp. Belfast kids are tremendous when it comes to fighting.
“I’m starting to study his fights. He’s a very tricky fighter, similar to Frampton. He’s a very confident kid, who believes he can best me in the ring and that challenge in itself poses that interest for me. I love Belfast, we had a great time out there, everyone was very kind, so it doesn’t matter where the fight is.”