Carl Frampton – The Journey Ahead
Carl Frampton makes his highly anticipated return to Belfast in just two weeks time as he matches up against the hard hitting ‘Filipino Flash’ Nonito Donaire for the interim WBO World Featherweight Championship, in a fight that Frampton hopes will slingshot him back into World Title contention. But what exactly does ‘The Jackal’ have left to give in the remaining years of what has been a brilliant career for Belfast’s boxing phenomenon.
Frampton, turned 31 in February, has provided boxing fans with some spectacular nights of boxing. A two-time / two-weight World Champion, Carl has never been short of providing boxing fans with some special performances and some even better nights to remember.
He first became a World Champion back in the fall of 2014, when he unanimously out-pointed veteran Spaniard Kiko Martinez. A 12 round landslide victory for ‘The Jackal’ saw him pick up the IBF World Super Bantamweight Championship in what was a very emotional night in Frampton’s hometown.
Frampton returned to Belfast to defend his World Title at the beginning of 2015 when he faced American Chris Avalos. Another outstanding performance would follow for Frampton as he put everything into a 5th round stoppage to remain IBF Super Bantamweight Champion of the World.
Next up for The Jackal saw him take on the late Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, who sadly passed away in December of 2016. This proved to be one of Frampton’s toughest World Title defences, as he had to get off the canvas multiple times to go on to beat Gonzalez unanimously over 12 exhilarating rounds of boxing. This fight would take place at Don Haskins Convention Centre in El Paso, Texas. It would also put the entire stock of American-based Super Bantamweight contenders on notice.
Following on from a tough test for Carl over in America, the highly anticipated unification clash between himself and Manchester’s undefeated WBA World Super Bantamweight Champion Scott Quigg was signed to take place on Saturday 27th February 2016 at the Manchester Arena.
This was a fight that the majority of British boxing fans were ecstatic about and predictions of a modern day classic quickly became apparent.
However, to many people’s disappointment, it did not erupt into the classic that it was hoped for. It was all smiles for Team Frampton though, as the Northern Irish man beat Scott Quigg via Split Decision to add the WBA Crown to his name and become the Unified Super Bantamweight Champion of the World. A standout moment for Carl Frampton.
On the back of Frampton’s big win in Manchester, he returned to the United States to take on the fellow undefeated Mexican-American Leo Santa Cruz, who was the holder of the WBA Featherweight World Championship. The fight was set to take place on Saturday 30th July 2016 at the Barclays Centre in the heart of Brooklyn, NYC.
A chance to become a two-weight World Champion for Frampton was there for the taking at a packed out Barclays Center, however, the noise made by The Jackal’s huge following crowd made it feel like it was just another special night in Belfast.
Carl Frampton was the WBA Featherweight World Champion, as he battled on to win a Majority Decision to brush aside Leo Santa Cruz and send the crowd into raptures. By far Frampton’s biggest win and a night that he nor all of the following he had that night will ever forget.
Despite his efforts to become a belt holder at Featherweight, a rematch was made between Frampton and Santa Cruz right at the beginning of 2017. However this time the fight would land at the spectacular MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, a dream location for Frampton to defend his World Title against an opponent he knew a lot about.
Despite an extremely brave effort from the Belfast man, he fell to a Majority Decision verdict in favour of Leo Santa Cruz, who would regain his WBA World Featherweight Championship. A rejuvenated Santa Cruz put on the performance of his career to snatch back the title. However, very gracious in defeat, The Jackal would hold his head high and have a rightfully deserved rest back home with his two kids and wife, before he set out the next chapter of his career.
The shock split from trainer Shane McGuigan and promotional team Cyclone Promotions saw Frampton begin to look around for a brand new team, who he hoped would send him right back to the top and into World Title contention.
Frampton announced he had teamed up with former British Champion Jamie Moore, based in Manchester. The Jackal would be joining a gym with fighters including Tommy Coyle, Martin Murray and Rocky Fielding. Fellow Irishman Conrad Cummings would follow suit and link up with Jamie Moore not long after Frampton.
With a trainer found, Frampton put pen to paper in a deal with Frank Warren, where he would be able to look forward to boxing live and exclusively on BT Sport and BoxNation. In a deal that suited all parties, Frampton geared up for his return appearance in Belfast against the very rigid and tough Horacio Garcia, whom he would box over 10 rounds on November 18th 2017.
A routine victory for Carl saw him back on the scene and on the prowl for World Titles once again, and it wasn’t long at all before his next move would be announced.
Looking ahead, in just two weeks time its back into the squared circle for Frampton as he takes on the very experienced and hard hitting Nonito Donaire. A win here could even make Frampton mandatory for the WBO Featherweight World Champion Oscar Valdez, who very recently outpointed Frampton’s former foe Scott Quigg.
It is very clear that Frampton is hungry and motivated to become a World Champion once again, and he knows full well that a top performance against Donaire in a few weeks time will put him in that exact position. Since linking up with Jamie Moore, the spirit of Carl Frampton has expanded massively and this will surely rub off onto him when that first bell rings at the SSE Arena in Belfast on April 21st.
We are all hoping for a great performance from The Jackal, and with another potential shot at a World Title on the horizon, boxing fans have never been so hopeful to see one of their own display a pure masterclass.
Will it be Selby? Santa Cruz? Gary Russell? I’m sure all will be revealed soon enough, as we look forward to Carl Frampton vs. Nonito Donaire, Saturday 21st April; live and exclusive on BT Sport and BoxNation!
By Kailem Sims