FORMER world champions Carl Frampton and Nonito Donaire took questions from the media at Wednesday’s final press conference at the Europa Hotel in Belfast, Ireland two days ahead of their clash for the interim WBO Featherweight Title this Saturday.
The SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL livestream will begin at 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT with coverage provided by BT Sport and BoxNation and featuring commentary by U.K. sportscasters John Rawling (blow-by-blow) and former featherweight world champion Barry Jones (analysis).
Frampton (24-1, 14 KOs), of Northern Ireland, and Donaire (38-4, 24 KOs) of General Santos, Philippines, are two past Fighter of the Year award winners who will meet in a 12-round bout. The winner of this fight will be in position to challenge WBO Featherweight Champion Oscar Valdez, who is recovering from injury following his fourth title defense, a unanimous decision win over Scott Quigg on March 10.
This is the first of three high-stakes featherweight fights on SHOWTIME® platforms featuring five of the consensus top-10 ranked featherweights in the world. On May 19, IBF World Champion Lee Selby will defend his 126-pound title against undefeated Josh Warrington live in the U.S. on SHOWTIME Sports social media platforms and on June 9, Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will meet live on SHOWTIME in a highly anticipated rematch for the WBA Featherweight World Title.
The livestream of Frampton vs. Donaire will precede Saturday evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader that features former four-division champion Adrien Broner and former champion Jessie Vargas in a 12-round welterweight bout live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In the co-feature, Jermall Charlo will face Hugo Centeno Jr. for the interim WBC Middleweight World Championship and Gervonta Davis will meet Jesus Cuellar for the WBA Super Featherweight World Championship.
Below is what Frampton, Donaire and their respective trainers had to say at today’s press conference:
“I’m really excited about this fight and I have been since it was announced. To have a guy like Nonito Donaire coming to Belfast to fight me almost feels like a bit of an honor. It’s a quality fight.
“It’s a cliché when fighters talk about how good their camp has been, but I genuinely believe that the camp that I’ve had has been the best camp because it’s been my smartest camp. I’ve had a completely different approach to training. I don’t remember having a bad day in training or sparring. I feel like everything is coming together and I’m ready to put on a big performance in front of my home crowd.
“I had a lot of respect for Donaire back when he was a champion and I still do. He’s a quality fighter. In terms of accolades, he’s accomplished more than any other fighter that I’ve ever fought. He’s a future Hall of Famer. Hopefully I can put myself in that bracket one day. He is the best fighter that I will have ever fought. That includes Leo Santa Cruz and [Scott] Quigg and everyone else. Donaire has accomplished more than anyone. It’s going to be big for me to get a result here on Saturday night.
“I think it’s been a bit disrespectful just talking about his left hook. It takes more than a left hook to become a Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year or five-time world champion. He has a brilliant slip right hand. I know a lot about Nonito Donaire and to say all he has is a left hook is a bit disrespectful. He’s a brilliant fighter and he can do a bit of everything. I’ll need to be ready for different situations and I feel like I’ve covered all the bases in training camp.
“Some people want the easiest fights possible but that’s not me. I don’t think that’s Nonito either. I want to be in fights that people talk about and are interested in. This is a fight that puts the winner in position to fight Oscar Valdez for a chance to be a world champion again. When I’m in that position to fight for a world title, it’s fights like this one that are preparing me to go and win it.”
“It’s been amazing being here, just as it was the last time. Everybody has been fantastic. Belfast has been a great experience overall. The people have been really warm to my entire team and we’re all having a great time being here.
“I believe that I am gifted with great genes. I’m a late bloomer. I feel like I’m starting to get into my peak shape and that’s because of my mentality. Our physical shape can only be as strong as our minds inside that ring. The strength of our mental fortitude has allowed us to be confident here in Belfast where we will be fighting one of the best fighters in the world.
“I think I’m a smarter fighter than I was in 2012. With the ups and downs that I’ve experienced in my career, I’ve learned what I’m capable of and where my mind is. We’re very confident going into this fight.
“The key factor in this fight is that my wife and I feel that we’re married to Carl because we wake up, we see Carl; we sleep, we see Carl; everything we do we see Carl, so that’s pretty much what it’s all about. I have to say, Carl is an amazing fighter. I have to give it to the guy. For a long time, he was the boogeyman in boxing. He has chosen this fight because it inspires him and I came to Belfast because it inspires me.”
Jamie Moore, Carl Frampton’s Trainer:
“Last time around, it was a bit of a rushed training camp. We could have benefited from a couple of weeks extra. We’ve taken on a few different changes this time. We’ve done altitude training and taken on a scientific approach.
“Carl is in fantastic shape. He’s gradually built up his fitness. The altitude work has been brilliant. Even though the last camp wasn’t bad, this one is by far so much better. He’s in much better condition than last fight and mentally, he’s in a great place.”
Mike Bazzel, Nonito Donaire’s Head Trainer:
“Nonito has the experience of being on top for so long. When you are at the top for so long, there are always going to be little drops and little valleys. There’s a maturity with Nonito. Most fighters at this stage of their career have a physical decline. Nonito’s body is starting to come into form now. So now, he is not only physically peaking, but he is mentally strong because of all the experience he has.”