Boxing

Carl Frampton ready for Warr as he predicts 'sweetest' IBF featherweight title victory in Manchester

Carl Frampton during the press conference at Grosvenor House, London yesterday
Andy Watters

CARL Frampton has vowed to become world champion again with the “sweetest” win of his career in Manchester on December 22.

The Tigers Bay featherweight takes on IBF champion Josh Warrington at the MEN Arena three days before Christmas and the pair of them faced the press in London yesterday in the first instalment of a three-media tour that includes press conferences in Leeds today and Belfast tomorrow.

‘The Jackal' recalled how some observers had predicted that his career would go into decline following the loss of his title in a rematch against Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas in January last year.

After that points defeat at the MGM Grand, Frampton split with handlers Cyclone Promotions but he has recovered most of the ground he lost by linking up with Manchester-based trainer Jamie Moore.

Now he wants to regain his world title and he signalled his intent with an impressive points win against former champion Nonito Donaire late last year before outclassing Australian Luke Jackson at Windsor Park in August to force his first stoppage win since 2015.

He says beating Warrington on December 22 will leave even the famous victories over Kiko Martinez, Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz (in New York) in the shade,

“This will be the sweetest world title because I have been written off,” said Frampton (26-1)

“After I lost to Leo Santa Cruz, people said I was done.

“I was not enjoying boxing a couple of years ago; I was counting down the days until retirement.

“Things are now going well and I am enjoying boxing again. I was winning big fights and beating good opponents but not enjoying it.

“Now I am enjoying it and am an even better fighter.

“I am training smarter and not running myself into the ground or over-training. It's a much smarter approach and I feel in my prime.”

Warrington was in the crowd when Frampton lost to Santa Cruz but at that stage he was viewed as a European-level fighter. However, his rapid rise has coincided with Frampton's dip in form and so they will come together to headline the Frank Warren bill in Manchester.

Unbeaten 27-year-old Warrington (27-0) has also accounted for Kiko Martinez but he went into his May meeting with reigning IBF champion Lee Selby as the underdog despite having home advantage at Elland Road.

However, the Leeds native produced the performance of his career in front of his home fans and weight-drained Selby was unable to cope with his constant pressure and volume punching. The official verdict was a split decision but Selby was the clear points winner over 12 rounds in which Selby offered only sporadic resistance. Selby has no intention of losing his title in his first defence.

“I have this world title and I don't plan on giving it up soon,” he said.

“When Carl moved up to featherweight all my pals made jokes that he was coming for me.

“I have always enjoyed watching Carl; I have been a fan. As soon as he comes into the division you start keeping an eye out.

“Over the years he has looked very special. I don't want to lick his a*** too much but he has looked special at times.

“The Carl fight whets the appetite and I want to prove myself. I am ranked behind Carl and I want to prove I am number one.”

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