Carl Frampton could make move up to super-feather for Belfast homecoming

Former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton confirmed yesterday that his next fight will be back in Belfast on July 29
Neil Loughran

CARL Frampton could be set for a move up to super-featherweight after confirming his long-awaited homecoming fight will take place in Belfast on July 29.

The former two-weight world champion didn’t mention a venue or opponent when announcing the fight date yesterday. Windsor Park is still believed to be in the running as the SSE Arena, with a capacity of 9,000, might not be big enough.

A return to the Titanic Slipways – scene of his 2014 victory over Kiko Martinez – has also been mooted.

But it’s who ‘The Jackal’ will be fighting, rather than where, that has really got tongues wagging, with a press conference next week expected to confirm more details.

A third Leo Santa Cruz fight won’t happen this summer – the LA-based Mexican has been linked with a rematch against Abner Mares - while the manager of IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby, Chris Sanigar, said a July date against the Welshman was “very doubtful”.

American Gary Russell jr, the WBC champion, and WBO kingpin Oscar Valdez have both fought recently and the short turnaround, plus the prospect of travelling to Belfast, sees them all but ruled out.

With his options at 126lb seemingly limited, Frampton could move up to 130lb, where he is ranked number two by the WBA. Jezreel Corrales (21-1) currently holds the belt, and the Panamanian southpaw could be open to a July 29 showdown in Belfast.

Also in the frame could be number one ranked contender Bryan Vasquez (35-2), from Costa Rica – although neither are the kind of marquee names Frampton might have hoped for in his first fight on home soil since February 2015.

Other names mentioned in dispatches include much-travelled former four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (37-4) and the undefeated Josh Warrington (25-0).

However, the Leeds featherweight’s manager Steve Wood last night dismissed the possibility of a match-up with his man.

“I made enquiries about Carl being a possible opponent for Josh in Leeds, but the McGuigans obviously want Carl fighting in Belfast,” said Wood.

“I don’t see Josh Warrington as an away fighter, so it never went any further, but maybe down the line.”

Meanwhile, it was also confirmed yesterday that Belfast super-featherweight Anthony Cacace (15-0) will fight Martin J Ward (17-0-2) for the British and Commonwealth titles at Wembley Arena on July 15, with ITV broadcasting the bout live.

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