Boxing

Paddy Barnes world title shot is 'Lomachenko stuff' says Carl Frampton

Carl Frampton has backed Paddy Barnes to win the WBC flyweight title
Andy Watters

AFTER just five outings as a professional, Paddy Barnes fights for the WBC flyweight title at Windsor Park on August 18.

Barnes takes on reigning champion – and 30-fight veteran - Cristofer Rosales on the undercard of Frampton-Jackson and Frampton compared his former Holy Family ABC and Ireland team-mate to Vasyl Lomachenko (a world champion in his third pro fight) as he backed him to win at Windsor.

“It's a huge achievement for him – this is Lomachenko stuff,” said Frampton.

“It's a big ask, it's not an easy fight and Paddy understands that. He's been training for a long, long time and there have been rumours of this fight or him fighting for a world title for a long time.

“This guy (Rosales) is a good fighter. I was at ringside for him and Andrew Selby and he is determined. Selby boxed the head off him, he can make a lot of people not look good, but he hurt Selby in the first round and the last round which indicates that he carries his power through the fight and he keeps trying.

“He didn't give up, he didn't quit, he kept pushing so I think it will be a brilliant fight. I think it's going to be quality and I think Paddy wins.”

Barnes and unbeaten heavyweight Tyson Fury will play their parts in what looks likely to be a sold-out spectacular at Windsor. Frampton has had bigger fights, but he agrees this could be the night of his career.

“This could be the one people talk about for a long time,” he said.

“You talk about making memories and I want people to remember this in 20-30 years' time – the night big Fury was on bill and Paddy won a world title and I beat Luke Jackson. It could go down in history as a sporting event in Ireland, especially wee Paddy winning a world title in his sixth fight - that would be a hell of an achievement.”

FIGHTING at Windsor Park has been described as Carl Frampton's “boyhood dream” but the truth is that he never, not even in wildest dreams, expected to box there.

But he will, on August 18 in a fight that opponent Luke Jackson seems determined to turn into a grudge match despite the absence of any natural needle between him and the Belfast favourite.

Australian Jackson claims that Frampton “is very beatable” and says his career has been on the slide since his first fight with Leo Santa Cruz in New York back in 2016.

“Across the board he is phenomenal, but I don't think he is as good as he once was,” said the increasingly outspoken Jackson.

“In the first fight against Leo Santa Cruz he boxed out of his skin and deserved to win, but he hasn't looked the same since. Carl is a very good fighter who does everything good, but I don't honestly think he does anything great.”

Jackson's misguided comments ignore Frampton's most recent performance against Nonito Donaire in which he produced a performance of power and class over 12 impressive rounds at the SSE Arena.

“We are going to punch each other in the head. I don't really care if what I say upsets him,” said Jackson.

“I respect him as a fighter, I respect him as a man but I am coming to beat him, not coming over to be friends.

“I don't know if he wants me to call him a ‘Hall of Fame fighter' or ‘the greatest', but I don't think he is. He is very beatable and I think I can beat him, simple as that.”

Frampton-Jackson is the headline act of bill that also includes Tyson Fury v Francesco Pianeta and Paddy Barnes' WBC Flyweight title rumble with reigning champion Cristofer Rosales (27-3).

“It (fighting at Windsor) hasn't been a childhood dream because I never thought this would be a possibility – fighting in a football stadium,” said Frampton who dismissed Jackson's claims.

“I don't think any kid really thinks that but after I started to sell out the Odyssey and we brought 15,000 people to Manchester, 5,000 to Vegas… After that it started to become more realistic so the last couple of years I've started to think that Windsor would be an ideal venue.”

Frampton will finish sparring this week and says he is feeling “sharp, fit and strong”. He recorded a personal best for reps on a dead lift of 145kg and looked in great shape last week during a pads session with Jamie Moore.

“I am enjoying boxing again and that's a lot to do with the surroundings and the people I'm around,” said Frampton.

“Tactically Jamie Moore is brilliant. You saw Rocky Fielding's fight against Tyron Zuege and I saw Rocky practicing the shots he stopped him with over and over for weeks.

“He's a good coach, a good man, a family man, down to earth and I listen to him and I know he's the boss in the gym. But we can have a conversation, it's not like he tells you what to do and you have to do it and I'm like a little boy.”

Frampton insists he isn't looking past Jackson but this is a gateway fight for him and, if all goes the way it should on August 18, his next will be a world title rumble against either Josh Warrington or Oscar Valdez.

“I would love Warrington to have been this one,” he said.

“I'm ready for that fight, I'm mandatory for Oscar Valdez once I beat Luke Jackson so I'd say my next opponent is probably going to be one of them two and I'd hope to come through a fight with them and then hope to push on and try and get the trilogy sorted with Leo Santa Cruz in the new year.

“I don't think any of them are easy fights but I think Warrington is an easier fight than Valdez, but that's not to say I'm overlooking Warrington, but I think Valdez is a better fighter than him.

“I think about what's next, I have a look and I see what's going on. You don't want to look too far ahead but you have to have a plan in place. It's important to understand that that plan means nothing – it goes out the window if I don't win this fight so I'm fully focussed on Luke Jackson.”

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