Ryan Burnett shed the ring rust on Friday night with a sixth-round stoppage win over game import Jelbirt Gomera. Many were surprised when Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn decided not to continue his association with Belfast man Burnett. Headlining in the Ulster Hall, live on IFL TV’s YouTube channel and in the US on ESPN+, Burnett’s main objective was to slide back into the fighting groove and make sure his body held up under scrutiny.
Nonito Donaire, the man who inflicted Burnett’s first loss back in November 2018, sat grinning at ringside. Whether the two will go again is open to debate. Donaire has the small matter of a WBSS final against Naoya Inoue to contend with first. Burnett was flying high as the WBA bantamweight champion when he boxed Donaire in the tournament. Seemingly boxing towards a points win (although they were in the early stages of the bout) Burnett suffered a back injury and retired from the contest.
Now competing up at super-bantamweight, Burnett was presented with a comeback opponent who came to fight. Beaten five times out of 14, the stocky Filipino was the perfect test given the circumstances. Not afraid to swing a hook or two, Gomera emptied his tank for as long as it lasted, despite classy Burnett always being a step or two ahead.
Declan Geraghty is staring down the retirement barrel right now after another knockout loss. “Pretty Boy” entered the pro game with high hopes, following an amateur stint that pushed him into the world level bracket. Unfortunately, it has not panned out that way. Two losses to Jono Carroll (the first by disqualification) and a massive knockout at the fists of James Tennyson has turned any meaningful Geraghty scrap into a must-win affair.
Marco McCullough was the latest domestic rival to check Declan’s chin. Both men were boxing with their hands down. McCullough orthodox, moving in straight lines; Geraghty a flashy southpaw, twitching and dipping in and out of range. It was heating into a decent scrap before McCullough landed an almost accidental right hand that sent the Dubliner to the canvas and worryingly rigid. Referee Steve Gray waved it off. Following a brief period on oxygen, Geraghty embraced his former amateur teammate, and each man went their separate ways. One on the way up, the other very much on the way down.
When Sean McComb isn’t busy chasing down Belfast’s criminal element out on the streets, he’s using his athletic abilities to hunt down and consume adversaries inside the squared circle.
Ringside observers hungry for a little more gore might’ve been forgiven for thinking referee Hugh Russell Jr jumped in a tad prematurely as opponent Miroslav Serban shelled up and took more than he threw. That may be the case, but it was only going one way.
The Czech had the previous form on these shores -and in this very arena no less- having dropped future European title challenger Paul Hyland Jr before conceding an eight-round points defeat in early February. McComb was in an unforgiving mood and blasted him in the first round of the same scheduled distance.
Seated ringside to support his MTK stablemates, former world champion Carl Frampton dropped some hints as to when he will next be appearing in the ring. A Stateside headliner “somewhere on the East Coast” was the word from the man himself. August 10 and August 24 were also put forward after Michael Conlan grabbed the August 3 weekend date. Conlan headlines at the Feile an Phobail when he looks to exact revenge on Russian rival Vladimir Nikitin who controversially bettered the Belfast man in the amateurs.
On the rest of the Ulster Hall undercard, there were wins for Padraig McCrory, Lewis Crocker and a host of others combatants.