Boxing

Three-weight world champion status the best way for Carl Frampton to put Philadelphia nightmare behind him

Carl Frampton was forced to pull out of his fight with Emmanuel Dominguez after breaking a bone in his hand
Andy Watters

CARL Frampton will look to bounce back from his Philadelphia nightmare by becoming Ireland’s first three-weight world champion.

Frampton is facing at least four weeks of no punching after an ornamental column in his hotel fell and broke his hand in a freak accident, forcing him to pull out of his featherweight rumble with rank outsider Emmanuel Dominguez on Saturday night.

When he returns Frampton – already a world champion at super-bantamweight and featherweight - will follow hot on the heels of Oscar Valdez by moving up to the 130lb division and look to overtake Steve Collins (Ireland’s only other two-weight world champion) by becoming a three-weight global king.

The bizarre circumstances surrounding Frampton’s withdrawal from this weekend’s match have drawn comparisons with the bizarre accident that befell his opponent Andres Gutierrez two years ago. The Mexican pulled out of their Belfast fight after he was injured slipping in shower but conspiracy theorists linking the incidents will have to answer the one crucial question: What did Frampton have to gain by pulling out of Saturday night’s fight?

The answer is: Nothing.

Having to pull out of the Dominguez fight will cost Frampton dear. His training camp in Philadelphia has cost him in the region of £30,000 and he will receive no purse because he wasn’t fit to weigh-in for the fight. As well as that the family man has had to spend weeks away from his wife and two young children and won’t have added anything to his 26-2 record.

“He’ll feel it’s been worth nothing,” said MTK’s Jamie Conlan.

“But I suppose he’ll have to try and take the positives. He did the camp and he says it was the best he ever felt. Camps all stand by you so hopefully this camp will have reassured him that he is the Carl Frampton that he believes he is.

“Although he didn’t get the chance to perform on the big stage, the camp has reassured him that he still has what it takes to achieve what he wants to achieve.”

The 32-year-old will not want to spend too long out of the ring. He hasn’t fought since December 28 last year when he lost to Josh Warrington and there is speculation that Frampton could return on the same bill as Michael Conlan on the east coast of the USA in late September/early October.

“Carl is fit, he is a solid professional and he doesn’t stray too far away from training,” said Jamie Conlan.

“It could be October if he wanted and then, in the new year, hopefully a world shot. You have to try and find the positives out of all this and the positive is that any lingering doubts he had in his head after the Warrington fight, hopefully this 10-week camp has eased them and put them to bed for him.

“All he needs to do is perform in the ring and showcase that and then he’ll be ready for anyone I believe.”

Frampton is experienced enough to put a turbulent few days behind him that began last Saturday with the news that WBO featherweight champion Valdez was giving up his title and moving up to super-featherweight. Valdez was viewed as the natural next step at featherweight for Frampton and his intended last hurrah after he had come through Dominguez.

Valdez’s successor as champion will most likely be hard-hitting 22-year-old Shakur Stevenson (12-0) who does not fit the opponent profile Frampton needs at this stage of his career.

Then there was the mystery of Dominquez’s name being removed from the Boxrec fight schedule - the Mexican’s name and record were replaced with ‘TBA’.

When speaking to The Irish News on Monday, Frampton’s coach Jamie Moore said he was still preparing for Dominguez but after completing his final intense training session on Monday, Frampton was relaxing in the foyer of his hotel when a member of the public apparently became entangled in lace curtains near where he was sitting, lost their balance, knocking over the 10-foot ornament and sending it crashing down, smashing a marble table and the fighter’s hand in the process.

There have been some unfair jokes made about the unsecured ornament posing more danger to Frampton than Dominquez would have but the Mexican is a whole-hearted trier.

Frampton was the 100/1 on favourite, so obviously it would have been a massive shock if he lost but this is boxing and Anthony Joshua was also heavy favourite when he was knocked out by little known out of shape Andy Ruiz jnr in June.

Speaking on Monday, Frampton’s coach Jamie Moore said he was in no doubt that Frampton could win a world title again.

“Because he’s at the stage were any slip-ups and his career will be over, I think he’ll be really on it,” Moore predicted.

“All the evidence from training suggests he will put in a great performance, there’s no doubt about that.

“From what I’ve seen in the gym, there’s no doubt he could win a world title again and what a way for him to walk away from boxing. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d walked away after Warrington because it was a devastating defeat.

“He feels like he didn’t do himself justice and I understand why and I understand the reasons for him fighting again but I don’t want him to fight forever.

“As much as I train him, I care about him – he’s a great lad and for me, what better way for any fighter than to go out on top as world champion.”

Moore added: “Carl’s name carries weight so opportunities will come up for world titles.

“I’m not adverse to him testing the water at super-featherweight and seeing if he can win a world title in a third weight division. Not only would it be a great way for him to go out, it would cement his legacy as the greatest Irish fighter ever.

“I’d like to see him cement his legacy and walk away as a world champion and if that meant that he had a last fight as a big homecoming at Windsor Park then so be it but I’d like him to go out the right way.”

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