CARL FRAMPTON has made it quite clear he aims to continue his career, despite a December loss to Josh Warrington, and could end up doing so as a super-bantamweight.
The gifted Irishman departed that division in order to thrive as a featherweight in 2016 but found himself undersized against Warrington in Manchester before Christmas and is now exploring the possibility of a drop back down. Super-bantamweight, after all, served him well, to the tune of WBA and IBF titles, and a unification victory over bitter rival Scott Quigg (his last appearance at the weight).
“Look at the size difference between me and Warrington on the night,” Frampton said in an interview with the BBC.
“Warrington was a much bigger man than me so moving up a weight… I believed I could have beaten Warrington and then maybe moved up, but I was outdone by a bigger man on the night. So it would need to be the right champion if I was going to move up and not one of the bigger guys.
“Against (Nonito) Donaire, I made featherweight pretty comfortably and I remember saying before the (Luke) Jackson fight that if something came up at super-bantamweight I’d be willing to try it out, so that’s an option.”
Frampton, 26-2 (15), has held positive meetings with his promoter, Frank Warren, regarding his future and has made it clear he wants only big fights from this point on – be it at featherweight or super-bantamweight. This means he’s open to bouts against the likes of WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez and WBA king Leo Santa Cruz, the Mexican with whom Frampton has split a couple of fights already. A rematch with Warrington, meanwhile, would seem more of a long-term possibility.
Down at super-bantamweight, Frampton could fight Rey Vargas, the WBC champion, Emmanuel Navarrete, the WBO champion, Danny Roman, the WBA champion, or even fellow Irishman TJ Doheny, who currently holds the IBF version of the title. Plenty of options, then, for a 31-year-old intent on giving it one last go.
This week we have discovered Joe Joyce, Bermane Stiverne and Marsellos Wilder, brother of Deontay, will all appear on the undercard of James DeGale’s super-middleweight grudge match against Chris Eubank Jr on February 23 at London’s O2 Arena (televised live on ITV Box Office).
And the fights keep coming, too. Added to the bill today is a British light-heavyweight title eliminator between Ricky Summers and Andre Sterling, which should provide a dose of old-school competitive action to a star-studded card.
Midlands man Summers, 31, came within touching distance of claiming the British title after challenging then-champion Frank Buglioni in July 2017 at the O2 Arena. He gave as good as he got against Londoner for most of the 12 rounds they shared and was a tad unlucky, in the opinion of some, to be on the receiving end of the scorecards after 36 minutes of action. Even in defeat, though, Summers’ reputation was enhanced.
Since then, he has outboxed Gonzalo Romero and Tayar Mehmed to take his record to 15-1 (5)
“I bounced back in the right way after the Buglioni fight,” Summers said. “I lost that night because of experience. Frank wasn’t a better fighter, but he had already boxed on the big stage.
“Now I have that experience of having already fought at the O2 to take into the ring with me this time. That’s going to be invaluable. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to get back in the spotlight, and I’m going to take my chance this time. There’s a lot on the line: the loser has nowhere to go, while the winner has bigger things to plan for.
“I think Andre Sterling is a good fighter and I respect him. He’s accumulated a good record since turning pro. He’s a skilful boxer, but he’s heavy-handed. It will be a good clash of styles. I’ll have far too much for him, though. I’ve improved tremendously as a fighter. I think the size difference between us will be a factor, too.”
Sterling, 28, won the Southern Area light-heavyweight title in November 2018 when outpointing Kirk Garvey at York Hall, Bethnal Green. It was a breakout night for the New Cross fighter and now the former Fitzroy Lodge star looks to go one better and tee himself up for a shot at the British belt.
“This opportunity is massive for me and I’m grateful,” said Sterling, 9-0 (4). “I’m feeling good, happy with my close-knit team, and I’m having a superb training camp. My sparring sessions have been great, and my weight is just where I want it to be. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for and I’m ready. It’s going to elevate me to a new level. My future is very bright and there will be big fights ahead for the British public to savour.
“Ricky is a good fighter, there’s no doubt about it, but I’ll have too much for him. There’s no way he’ll keep up. I’ll show no mercy and you can tell Ricky that much. I hope he’s ready because I’ll be bringing huge fire power to the fight. That isn’t to say I won’t be vigilant about when I unleash the lion from the cage; you’ll see my boxing skill and pedigree on show. Just watch out.”