Boxing

Frank Warren determined to make Carl Frampton Windsor Park dream come true

Luke Campbell failed in his bid to win the WBA lightweight title after a tight contest against Jorge Linares in California fell to a split decision
Andy Watters

A SUMMER 2018 blockbuster at Windsor Park is the fight Carl Frampton wants and new promoter Frank Warren has pledged to deliver it for ‘the Jackal’.

After signing Belfast’s two-weight world champion, Queensbury Promotions boss Warren laid out a roadmap which will include a comeback fight – probably in late November/early December – leading to a world title challenge at Windsor next year.

Warren has been a regular visitor to Belfast through the years. His most recent Queensbury show featured Jamie Conlan, Paddy Barnes and Stephen Ward, but he says Frampton’s signing has given him “a real foothold” in the city.

“I’m thrilled that we have the opportunity to showcase someone of Carl’s stature and popularity,” he said.

“Being a two-weight world champion, he is already an Irish boxing legend and we want to quickly put him in position to win another world title on his home soil in Belfast.

“Once he has got a good fight under his belt we will push on to Windsor Park, which is where we want to be with him, in a massive night there.

“The signing of Carl gives us a real foothold in Belfast, which is a great territory and one where we will continue to look to build up the local scene.

“For me there is nothing better than doing that and I have already had some great times with boxing in the city and have taken some big fights over there.

“Now we’ve got a standard bearer to move it forward once again while, at the same time, all the other youngsters come through and develop.”

Warren echoed Tyson Fury’s recent comments that a Frampton versus Josh Warrington fight could be on the cards. Leeds native Warrington – the WBC International featherweight champion – is also a Warren fighter and takes on capable Dane Dennis Ceylan next month.

“Josh is a fantastic fighter and, you never know, down the road they could meet,” he said.

“They’ve both got a huge fanbase so can you imagine how big that fight would be in future. It would be a fantastic fight that would be great for boxing and great for them.

“It reminds me of the days when Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Joe Calzaghe and Steve Collins were with us and we made fights between them. These boys will also want to be in the big fights to see who is best and ones where they can earn significant purses.”

HUGHIE Fury's failed bid to wrest the WBO heavyweight title from Joseph Parker in Manchester on Saturday night paled in comparison to the extraordinary allegations levelled by his team in the wake of the majority points defeat.

Fury's promoter Mick Hennessy accused "dark forces" of conspiring against Fury, the cousin of former world champion Tyson, after two of the ringside judges scored 118-110 in favour of the New Zealander, with a third scoring a 114-114 draw.

Hennessy promised a bid to "protest and overturn" the result, insisting Fury's back-foot performance, which most neutral observers agreed had not quite been enough to take the title in a poor fight, had offered "shades of Ali".

It ended another bizarre boxing night even by the standards of the WBO heavyweight title, which has been contested in such fistic hotbeds as the Norwich Sports Village, and which once famously allowed a fighter to be plucked from the audience to take on Tommy Morrison in 1993.

Hennessy insisted: "We will put in an appeal and protest this as strongly as we can. A rematch has to be a worst-case scenario - we want to get this overturned.

"I thought it was a masterclass (by Fury). I thought he wiped the floor with him. He was gliding round the ring hitting him with jabs at will - it was shades of Ali the way he was moving.

"There's something going on. To me it is corruption at the highest level in boxing. I'm telling you now there are dark forces at work in boxing."

In normal circumstances the performance by the 23-year-old Fury, who had not fought in 17 months due to the effects of a debilitating skin condition, would have been lauded as one offering much promise for the future.

He started cleverly on the back foot and certainly exposed the credentials of the one-dimensional Parker, who hoped to use the occasion to muscle in on major heavyweight bouts on this side of the Atlantic.

But by the middle rounds it was becoming clear that for all Fury's elusiveness he was simply not landing enough on the champion, whose own spurts of activity were marginally more direct and conclusive.

Fury's camp had good reason to question the margin of Parker's victory on two of the judges' cards, but it was hard to give credence to their claim that Hughie should have joined cousin Tyson as a world heavyweight champion.

Fury's father and trainer Peter Fury echoed Hennessy's insistence that his son had been the victim of a major injustice.

Fury snr said: "I thought the scorecards were ridiculous. I had Hughie at least four rounds ahead because Parker was swinging and missing.

“Hughie has had a very bad decision. My son is sitting there and should be crowned the world champion today all because of political influence.”

LUKE Campbell had to cope with the death of his father in the lead-up to his WBA lightweight title fight with Jorge Linares.

The London 2012 gold medal winner was beaten on a split decision in California on Saturday night against the Venezuelan champion.

And the 29-year-old Englishman revealed his father Bernard, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, died aged 58 in Hull while he was in the United States.

Campbell kept the news to himself as he did not want his opponent to know before the fight.

If someone had found out I would have denied it. I didn't want Linares' camp thinking it was a weakness. I didn't want them thinking I was hurt," Campbell told BBC Sport.

"The only thing that kept me going is I know what my dad would have wanted for me. To fight and to win.

"I probably cried once a day. I had to try and shut feelings off. After the fight I had a good cry."

In the fight, Campbell recovered after being knocked down in the second round.

Scot Victor Loughlin scored the contest 115-113 to Campbell, but the other two judges had Linares winning with scores of 115-112 and 114-113.

Campbell added: "I had a lot to deal with in the last two weeks. All the people writing me off, the negativity and in the background my dad died. I think I shut a lot of mouths and I thought I actually won the fight.

“I think I did my dad proud, I think we showed how tough we are.

“It was hard for me. I was close to my dad. All the family was together at home and I was on my own, no one around me. I'm glad people had comfort at home but I feel bad because I wanted to be with my dad. I've been telling myself he went because he wanted to be with me.”

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