Boxing

Carl Frampton: Next world title will be better than all the rest

Carl Frampton wants to "look explosive and come back with a bang” in his next fight
Andy Watters

THE fire is still in his belly and Carl Frampton says his next world title will mean more to him than all the other belts he has captured throughout his brilliant career.

Speaking from New York, where he is in training at the famous 5th Street Gym for his comeback fight next month, Frampton – Ireland’s second two-weight world champion – explained how he has set his sights on writing a glorious final chapter.

“This is a hard game and I wouldn’t be doing it unless I felt I could go and win more world titles and get a bit more glory,” Frampton told The Irish News.

“It really excites me at this stage of my career. A few years ago I was always expected and nailed on to be a world champion, now there is no real pressure but I’m enjoying myself and I want to get a bit of glory back and I want that for myself, I just want to go out and do it.

“If I win a world title again – which is what I’m still in this game for – it will be better than any other world title that I’ve won. That feeling is going to be unreal, to come back and do it after being written off, to actually go and prove people wrong… That’ll be an unreal feeling.”

To get that world title shot Frampton needs to win in August and Top Rank chief Bob Arum has said that Frampton will fight in Boston. ‘The Jackal’ says the venue hasn’t been confirmed and neither has his opponent.

“I know Bob Arum said Boston but all I know is that it’s on the east coast,” he said.

“There’s a good chance it could be Boston but I’m still waiting on the date and location to be completely finalised. They haven’t even mentioned an opponent to me so I still don’t know where it is, I’ve got two dates (August 10 and 24) so that’s all I know at this point.

“They’re talking about (Oscar) Valdez after this one so this will be a fight to get me back and it’ll need to be a good level opponent but not one of the top guys.

“I want to win and look good. Winning is always the most important thing but after my last fight I want to win and look good and get back to my best. I didn’t use my feet enough in the last fight (against Josh Warrington in Manchester on December 22) and there were reasons for that – I got nailed early in the first round, I got hurt in the second round too and I took a big accidental clash to my knee and that didn’t allow me to get on my toes like I wanted to and as I could have.

“So now the plan is to get back up on my toes, use my boxing and go out and take someone out – I’d like to get a knockout, a big knockout win. I’d like to look explosive and come back with a bang.”

A headline-grabbing victory will set the ball rolling for a clash with Valdez. The big-hitting Mexican has held the WBO title since 2016 and has so far made five defences of the belt, carving out a 25-0 record with 20 knockout victories.

“He’s a serious fighter and I rate him highly,” said Frampton.

“But this is a fight me and Jamie spoke about even before it was mentioned in the media. A few fights ago Valdez was a fight that he liked for me, he thought our styles would gel well.

“With Warrington, I didn’t respect his power because there was nothing to suggest he would hurt me and that’s where I got it wrong. My plan was to get up on my toes but obviously that went out the window when I got nailed in the first round and I had never been hit as hard in my life. He has suddenly turned into a serious puncher.

“Against Nonito Donaire, I knew he was a puncher and he could switch your lights off with one shot so you are more aware of that and more on edge.

“I know Valdez is a serious puncher and I need to be switched on from start to finish but it’s a fight I would like and a fight I think I would win.”

Frampton has taken an extended break since the Warrington fight just before Christmas. He returned to the gym a shade under 11 stone so he’ll have to work hard to get down to the nine stone featherweight limit but he doesn’t see that being a problem.

“That’s normal for me,” he said.

“It’s usually a stone and about 10lb anyway but I’ve had a longer break this time so there’s an extra couple of pound. I like to give myself a couple of weeks before I jump on the scales so I never really know what way I am so it’s nothing unusual to be that sort of weight. That’s normal for me.”

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CARL Frampton says his impending High Court battle with former handlers Cyclone Promotions will not impact on his plans for 2019.

Frampton is suing Barry and Sandra McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions (UK) Ltd. over alleged earnings in excess of £4million. The case has been adjourned until September and Frampton says he is “half looking forward” to having his day in court.

“I was looking for the court case to go ahead in May and the other side asked for an adjournment,” he explained.

“I put my career on hold for a while to get this court case out of the road so I said: ‘If there’s going to be an adjournment, I’m fighting in August and I’d like to get a fight in before the end of the year. We’re not asking for the adjournment so do us a favour and can we have it in the first week of September?’ The judge granted that so it doesn’t make a difference.

“I’ll fight in August, go on a holiday and then be back for it and fight before the end of the year again.”

He added: “My team know my story inside out so it’s not a day-to-day thing for me.

“I want to get it over with but I’m half looking forward to it to be honest.”

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TYRONE McCullagh hopes to fight in a world title eliminator on the undercard of Michael Conlan versus Vladimir Nikitin at Falls Park on August 3.

Derry native McCullagh defended his WBO European Super-Bantamweight belt against Alvaro Rodriguez in Newcastle earlier this month and intends to take a step up at the Feile an Phobail spectacular.

“It’ll be one of the biggest shows in Ireland ever and every boxer in the country is going to want to be on it,” he said.

“I have a fair idea that I will on it and I have a feeling it will be something big, I have a feeling it will be something massive. If I get a big fight on it up the bill it will be massive and I’d really look forward to it.”

McCullagh recently switched his training base from Liverpool to Scotland and is much more settled and content sharing a house and a gym with fellow Irish fighters Paddy Barnes, Tyrone McKenna and Sean McComb.

“Leaving Liverpool was nothing to do with training,” he said.

“I can’t speak highly enough of George Vaughan and Derry Matthews, but I was living in a wee room above a bar, I just had a microwave to heat my meals and I was on my own 22 or 23 hours a day.

“I was on my own unless I was training and it was tough but now I’m living up in Glasgow with Paddy, Tyrone and Sean, my best mates and our house is literally attached to the gym. You couldn’t ask for much more, it’s a great set-up and Danny is a great coach as well.”

McCullagh is now based in Holywell – midway between Glasgow and Motherwell – where he is being well liked after by ‘Mighty Celt’ Tyrone McKenna who takes care of all the cooking.

“When we were in Dublin as part of the amateur set-up we were all bunking together and living together and having a bit of craic and it’s the same in Glasgow,” McCullagh explained.

“I was struggling with having no-one in Liverpool but now I’m with them up in Scotland, the craic’s good and then, when it comes to training time, we knuckle down, we do what we have to do.

“We push each other in training and even our diet – my diet wouldn’t have been the best – but now I’m in Scotland, McKenna is a great cook and he would cook most of my meals for me. Fair play to him!

“He makes me an omelette every morning and then tuna and pasta in the evening. He looks after me well and I’m left with making his tea and coffee so I got the better end of the deal!”

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