Ryan Burnett got back on the winning track Friday by stopping Jelbirt Gomera with a series of body blows in the sixth round of their scheduled 10-round bout at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Fighting with his hands low, the former unified bantamweight titlist was able to evade most of the oncoming punches from the southpaw from the Philippines, while keying his own attack with a series of right hands that he mixed up to the head and body. While Gomera gave a good effort, he simply couldn't keep up with the pace and precision of Burnett, who was fighting in his hometown.
Getting penalized a point for a low blow in the sixth round by referee John Latham didn't dissuade Burnett (20-1, 10 KOs) from attacking downstairs on Gomera (14-6, 7 KOs), who after another two-fisted salvo to the body turned away from the action and began to walk away, which gave Latham no choice but to wave the fight off.
This was the first outing for Burnett since he had to retire in the fourth round of his Nov. 3 bout versus Nonito Donaire, which saw him get carried out of the ring on a stretcher after suffering a debilitating back injury.
''It's good to be back. I felt a little rusty in there to be honest, but I recovered quickly," Burnett said. "As soon as I recovered, I jumped straight back into the gym and I was eager to fight again.
"I'm fully healed and I'm feeling good."
As for his future, the 26-year-old is now a junior featherweight and hoping to become a two-division world champion, but another shot at Donaire, who has since advanced to the finals of the World Boxing Super Series' 118-pound tournament, is on his mind.
"Donaire's an incredible fighter and I didn't get to finish my fight with him, it was cut short," Burnett said. "So a rematch could be very likely, I think Belfast would love to see it."