Carl Frampton to fight on April 7th in Belfast
If Carl Frampton is to get a shot at a world title in Belfast's Windsor Park next summer, he will need to come through his next challenge on April 7th. Frampton's promoter Frank Warren announced the fight will take place at the SSE Arena in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast.
Frampton, from the Tigers Bay area of the city, made his return to the ring on November 18th against Mexican fighter Horacio Garcia. It was not a vintage performance, but the fact that he was required to dig deep, will stand to him. Still though, he has yet to recapture the magic that came with his win over Leo Santa Cruz for the WBA Super World Featherweight title in Brooklyn in the summer of 2016.
In that fight, Frampton's punching was sharp and he had a firm grip on the contest, all though Santa Cruz was persistent, Frampton did enough for a majority decision to go his way. He had captured the same title that his then manager Barry McGuigan had won in 1985.
It was a peak in the relationship between the two men that has since turned sour. Frampton fought a re-match against Santa Cruz in Las Vegas this January but this time he lacked the finesse of his previous performance and lost his belt.
Things continued to get worse for Frampton during the summer when he was due to fight Andres Gutierrez, another Mexican boxer. Firstly Frampton missed weight for the fight, and then Gutierrez suffered facial injuries after slipping in the shower, meaning he was unable to fight.
Something had to give for Frampton, and on August 21st he announced he was parting company with McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions. This also brought an end to his relationship with McGuigan's son Shane McGuigan, who was his trainer.
Since then, Cyclone Promotions have issued legal proceedings against Frampton, who in turn has stated through his solicitor that he is counter-claiming.
Frampton now trains in Salford, Manchester where he commutes to every week from Belfast. Under the tutelage of new trainer Jamie Moore, Frampton is focused on continuing his comeback trail. The most likely opponent in April is Nonito Donaire. The former four-weight champion, whilst five years older than the Irishman, is not finished yet.
He is on something of a comeback of his own. Having lost his WBO World Super Bantamweight in Las Vegas to American southpaw Jessie Magdaleno in November 2016, the Filippino boxer endeavored to put the defeat behind him.
He did so with unanimous points win over Ruben Garcia Hernandez, the 24-year-old Mexican pugilist, in San Antonio three months ago.
Whilst he would be deemed the underdog against Frampton, it would be remiss to underestimate Donaire. One thing he won't do is be, short of confidence and as an adaptable fighter, coupled with his experience, he will be capable of teasing out the fight with Frampton.
It's not set in stone yet, but it is the most likely match-up for April 7th. It won't be a case of going through the motions for Frampton. If he is to get the world title shot he craves, he will be made to work for it.