Carl Frampton world title challenge with Lee Selby a live option for this year
CARL Frampton may have to wait until the autumn for a Windsor Park showdown with IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby.
Selby’s manager Chris Sanigar says the fight remains a “live option” for this year but says a summer date is now “very doubtful” with September or October a more realistic possibility.
Frampton is training towards a fight in late July/early August and it was understood that Selby (who was seen in conversation with ‘the Jackal’ at a Cardiff fight night last weekend) was out of the picture after the IBF ordered him to defend against mandatory challenger Johnny Barros.
Contracts have been signed for Selby-Barros on June 27, but Sanigar has hinted that a way could yet be found for his man to sidestep the Argentine and book a mouth-watering and lucrative domestic showdown with ‘the Jackal’ instead.
“Frampton and Lee Selby is a live option but the IBF have ordered us to box our mandatory and that looks like it’s going to be our next fight,” Sanigar told The Irish News yesterday.
“But it could all change. There could be an exemption, something could happen with Barros, anything can happen… The next phonecall could turn it all upside down.”
Sanigar confirmed that he is in negotiations with Barros’s handlers but even if they are successful, time is running out on making Frampton-Selby for the summer. Finding an autumn date could be difficult too because Northern Ireland play World Cup qualifiers at Windsor in September and October while the stadium is also the home of Irish League champions Linfield.
“It’s very doubtful for July or August, but definitely September/October would be a possibility,” said Sanigar.
“Lee is in training so, if Barros pulled out, it wouldn’t be difficult to then switch (to Frampton). Training-wise it wouldn’t be a problem, the weight wouldn’t be a problem, it would be actually doing the deal. But everything is a possibility in this game.”
Selby was due to fight Barros on the undercard of Frampton’s rematch with Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas in January. The Barry fighter was let down at the last minute when Barros pulled out after failing to meet the medical requirements of the Nevada State Athletic Commission
“We were very, very unlucky,” said Sanigar.
“We were ready to box in Las Vegas and 30 minutes before the weigh-in we heard the fight was off. Other than actually losing in the ring, it could not have been worse.”
Since then Selby stopped Andoni Gago on the undercard of Haye-Bellew in March and Sanigar remains optimistic he’ll face Frampton later this year.
“It’s a fight I think both boxers want and I’m optimistic,” he said.
“It’s more than likely it’ll be Barros first but you just don’t know in boxing. Selby is in training and he doesn’t care who he fights or where he fights. He just wants to get it on.”
Meanwhile, Sanigar predicts that a flyweight rumble between Andrew Selby (Lee’s younger brother) and Paddy Barnes would be “a massive fight down the road”.
“We’ve just won an eliminator, we’re waiting to finalise a final eliminator and then Andrew would be mandatory for the WBC title,” he said.
“Please God he’ll win that and then we’ll see. That’s what the British TV like – two domestic fighters boxing for a world title.”