Boxing

Carl Frampton right on course ahead of showdown with Nonito Donaire

Carl Frampton says he is "back on course"

A SECONDS Out interview with Carl Frampton had to come to an abrupt halt yesterday after ‘the Jackal’ took a wrong turn driving back to his digs from training in Manchester.

“Can I call you back?” he asked.

“I need to put the Sat-Nav on, cos I don’t know where I’ve went here.”

Frampton still finds the road network around Manchester a puzzle but he has always had a keen sense of direction when it comes to fighting and five minutes later he was back on the phone.

“I’m back on course,” he said and then turned his attention to the serious business of his April 21 showdown with ‘Filipino Flash’ Nonito Donaire at the SSE Arena.

“I want my next fight to be for a world title so I want to be involved in fight that will get me ready for it.

“Beating someone like Donaire will get me ready to go and win it. There’s no point having a knock-over job because I don’t think it benefits me in the slightest.

“Going in against a good, credible opponent like Donaire and beating him is going to have me more than ready for whoever I fight for a world title in the summer.

“I want to fight names, the level of opposition needs to be stepped up from Garcia and we have done that. Donaire is a better opponent and it’s all about getting me ready, not just to fight for a world title, but to go and win it when another one comes up.”

Frampton and Donaire engaged in a decent standard sing-off when the Filipino four-weight world champion visited Belfast last month.

“All the singing was a good bit of messing about but both of us are taking it very seriously,” he said.

“Speaking for myself, I’m going to do whatever it takes to get my hand raised at the end and he’ll be thinking the same.”

The April 21 rumble with Donaire could set the wheels in motion for the best boxing summer in Belfast’s proud fighting history. Victory over Donaire will pave the way for Frampton’s bid to reclaim the featherweight world title while Paddy Barnes hopes to entice Sho Kimura into a rumble for the WBO flyweight belt in May.

“I’m taking a bit more of a scientific approach to things,” Frampton explained.

“I’ve got a nutritionist now, I’m doing blood tests, muscle tests at the start and the end of camp to see the improvements and I’ve teamed up with Simon Bitcon, who’s the head strength and conditioning guy at Man City.

“Before I was doing things on the advice of the team I had around me.

“It did work, there was a lot of trial and error and I was trying things out that would suit me – at one stage I was on a high protein diet and I felt like I could perform off that but I’ve noticed that I’m performing a bit better in the gym since I’ve introduced more carbs. I’m not as lethargic.

“To get the most out of my career I need to be doing this. I’m at the top end of my sport and I need to listen to these people. Jamie (Moore) and Nigel (Travis) take control of everything in the gym – the boxing, the sparring and the tactics – but I’m having a better approach to everything else.

“I’m logging everything, writing everything back down so I have something to look back on and I can see what I’ve done. There’ll be no short-cuts at all, I’ll get my head down and do everything right.”

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JAMES Tennyson is closing in on an EBU European super-featherweight rumble with Martin J Ward which could be part of the David Haye v Tony Bellew undercard at London’s O2 Arena on May 5.

‘The Assassin’ now holds a 21-2 record that includes 17 stoppage wins which underlines his reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the UK and Ireland at the minute. He follows his impressive KO victory at the Europa Hotel on February 3 when he demolished the durable Arnoldo Solano in 59 seconds..

Tennyson, the WBA International champion, now has a 75 per cent KO ratio and returns to the Europa Hotel on April 14 to support stablemate Paul Hyland jnr who takes on Floyd Moore in a cracking lightweight contest.

“James is a very, very dedicated young man,” said promoter Mark Dunlop.

“He doesn’t want to sit around idle and wait for the big nights, he’s happy to keep fighting and stay in shape. He returns on the 14th of April, the night he was meant to face Ward for the European title in Dublin before the Katie Taylor ‘Home Coming’ show was shelved.”

Dunlop added: “It was easy to turn down the Miguel Berchelt WBC title fight because he was offered more money for the European title short in a contest that on paper looks much easier as he waits for a shot at the WBA title.”

The undercard features Tyrone’s talented Feargal McCrory and Belfast scrapper Daniel ‘Insane’ McShane with more to follow.

Tickets £75 (VIP, including four course meal), £45 (reserved ringside) and £35 (unreserved), tel. 07712 473905 or email: info@mhdpromotions.com

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CALLUM Smith is expecting the best version of Juergen Braehmer in Saturday’s World Boxing Super Series Ali Trophy super middleweight semi-final in Nuremberg.

The winner will face George Groves in the final – scheduled for June 2 – after the Londoner out-boxed wreckless Chris Eubank jnr in a disappointing first semi-final in Manchester last Saturday night.

“I’ve had a good training camp,” said Smith (23-0).

“I’ve improved over the sparring sessions, now it’s all about the getting the tactics right and perform on the night and I should come out on top.”

Both 27-year-old Smith and 39-year-old Braehmer (49-3) appeared as serious contenders to win the Muhammad Trophy with their quarter-final performances last year.

Britain’s Smith claimed a 116-112, 117-110, 117-111 victory on the judges' cards after a thrilling match against Sweden’s Erik Skoglund at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Germany’s Braehmer, a former two-time light heavyweight champion, proved age is just a number when he beat American hope Rob Brant in dominant fashion at the Kongresshalle in Schwerin with the judges scoring it 119-109, 118-110 and 116-112 in favour of the 39-year-old veteran.

“Braehmer looked good against Brant,” said Smith.

“He is a good fighter, he is experienced. He has been there and done it, a former two-time world champion. He is an awkward fighter and he knows he is awkward and he uses it to his own advantage.”

“I have to concentrate on me. If I do what I do good, I will be too good for Braehmer on the night. I am expecting a good fight, I am expecting the best version of Juergen Braehmer, but we have everything covered to make sure I will proceed to the final.”

“It’s a big opportunity for Braehmer nearing the end of his career. What better way to finish than winning this tournament. But I feel that whatever he brings I got the answer for it. I know that I am capable of coming through and look good doing it.”

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KATIE Taylor will put her world title on the line as she attempts to unify the lightweight division in New York in April.

The 31-year-old Dubliner, who successfully defended her WBA title against American Jessica McCaskill in London in December, will meet IBF champion Victoria Bustos at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday, April 28.

Taylor, who beat Anahi Sanchez in October to claim her crown, is determined to end the Argentinian's near four-and-a-half-year reign on her return to Brooklyn, where she first fought in July 2017.

She said: "Becoming unified champion is very important to me. Last year was great, but I'm not really one for looking back and it's all about the next challenge.

“I believe that winning my first world title as a pro is just the start of it. I want to fight all the other champions and unify the lightweight division.

“Bustos is one of the longest reigning champions in women's boxing, so I’m expecting a very tough fight. I’ve been back in training camp in Connecticut since the beginning of the month, so the hard work has started and I'm excited to have the chance to win another world title.

“I got a great reception when I fought there last year, so I’m really looking forward to boxing there again. It's a unification fight and the Barclays Center is a fitting venue for a big fight like that.”

Bustos, 29, will defend her title for the sixth time, but for the first time outside her native country.

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