Boxing

Carl Frampton targets December return as WBO super-featherweight champ Herring opens door to world title clash

Carl Frampton hasn't boxed since December last year when he took on Josh Warrington in Manchester
Andy Watters

CARL Frampton hopes to return to action in December after he puts his injury problems behind him.

‘The Jackal' had planned to fight for a world title before the end of this year but a freak injury scuppered his chances of appearing on a bill in Philadelphia on August 10.

A broken left hand – technically a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal mid-shaft - means no punching for up to 12 weeks but Frampton hopes to fight before the end of the year with a possible world title challenge coming in March or April next year.

WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring (20-2) has already said he would be open to facing Frampton. Herring upset the odds to take the title off Masayuki Ito in May and would give Frampton a shot at the belt.

“I was blown away when he mentioned my name as a potential opponent because this is a guy who's a two-division world champion, and has also been in big fights,” he said.

“I honestly don't know if I would be the favourite or not. Truth be told, I really don't care if I am because if you look at my last fight, I wasn't the favourite and still picked up a huge win.

“I can honestly say I'd have the size advantage of course, but Carl is a veteran, and at times experience is your biggest tool, so I'd have to be sharp and ready for anything.

Like Frampton, the former US Marine (33) who served two tours of duty in Iraq is signed to Bob Arum's Top Rank organisation.

“I admire Carl's character, you never hear anything being said about Carl, and secondly he's a true competitor,” he said.

“He doesn't act like a diva over terms of a fight.

“Like he said in a recent interview he doesn't care if the fight is in the States or at home, he just wants to fight and become a world champion again.”

Frampton explained: “My plan is to box in America in December and my team are already looking at a couple of dates and then there is a real possibility that I would fight for a world title around March or April – at featherweight or super-featherweight.

“I know immediately after the injury I said I wanted to go straight for a world title but, thinking rationally, it makes sense to have a fight before that because I have been out of the ring for so long.”

Referring to his freak injury, which occurred after an ornament fell on his hand in the lobby of his hotel, he added: “It's the kind of thing happens when someone hits someone on the head in a pub fight or it can easily happen in the ring when you hit someone on top of the head. With me, it was a freestanding ornament and I still can't quite believe that happened.”

Meanwhile, Michael Conlan will be back in action in November and it is understood that the unbeaten featherweight is facing a step up in class against a former world champion.

PADDY Barnes tops the bill at the Ulster Hall on October 11 when he takes on Jay Harris on an MTK show that also includes Sean McComb, Marco McCullough, Lewis Crocker, Gary Cully, Sean Duffy, Callum Bradley and Pierce O'Leary in the supporting cast.

Barnes, who returned to form on the spectacular Feile an Phobhail fight night at Falls Park, can expect another genuine test against unbeaten Welshman Harris (16-0).

“Harris is an aggressive fighter like myself so I already know he'll be in my face,” said ‘The Leprechaun'.

“I won't have to go looking for him which suits me and the fans won't have to travel far. We are both experienced fighters so it doesn't matter where it is. It's going to be a brilliant fight.”

Unbeaten Harris picked up the biggest win of his career back in June when he defeated world title challenger Angel Moreno to win the European flyweight title, and he wants to build on that momentum.

“I'm really excited to be fighting Paddy Barnes,” he said.

“I think our styles will make one hell of a fight. I'm especially really looking forward to it after seeing the last Belfast show because the atmosphere was amazing and I can't wait for it

“These are the types of fights I want to be In and to show what I'm about. It's great to be live on a brilliant platform like ESPN+ again as well because it's another chance to build a fan base in the USA and showcase my ability.”

Promoter Lee Eaton added: “We're delighted to be returning to the Ulster Hall in Belfast for another fantastic show. The Belfast fans are amazing and they always make our events ones to remember.

“So far this year at the Ulster Hall we've seen the incredible Fight of the Year between Steven Ward and Liam Conroy, the return of former world champion Ryan Burnett, and the fantastic battle between Luke Keeler and Conrad Cummings.

“We also saw how incredible the Belfast fans are at our recent sold out Feile an Phobail event, and we're expecting another brilliant event in October.

“Harris versus Barnes is a superb fight with big rewards on offer to the winner, and there will be even more great fights announced.”

McCullough (22-4) is back following his impressive third round stoppage win against Declan Geraghty for the IBF European super-lightweight title back in May while rapidly-improving McComb (8-0) starred on the Feile an Phobail bill when he defeated unstoppable French journeyman Renald Garrido to extend his unbeaten record.

That event also featured rising stars Duffy (2-0, 1 KO) and Bradley (3-0), who kept up the perfect starts to their careers with dominant wins. Hard-hitting Crocker (9-0) returns in search of another knockout win along with heavy-handed Cully (8-0) and Pierce O'Leary who makes his professional debut on the show.

JONO Carroll will aim to move into position for a second world title shot when he takes on Eleazar Valenzuela (20-11-4) over 10 rounds in Hermosillo, Mexico, on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.

Carroll (16-1-1) is back in action following his gutsy world title challenge in Philadelphia against James Tennyson conqueror IBF Super-Featherweight king Tevin Farmer in March.

Liam Walsh is also on the card and promoter Barry Hearn says he is honoured to be involved on a sjow in the boxing-mad country.

“This is a fantastic card and it's an honor to promote in Mexico - a country full of boxing tradition,” said the Matchroom boss.

“We are expecting more than 10,000 for Gallo Estrada's homecoming at the atmosphere is going to be very special and I'm pleased to add Liam and Jono to the card.

“Liam would love another crack at Jamie Munguia after their great battle last year and I'm looking for him to win well in Mexico before a big fight before the end of the year.

“Jono is back raring to go after his brilliant fight with Tevin Farmer in Philly and is gunning for another world title shot in 2020. The card is full of top talent and action - don't miss it all live on DAZN and Sky Sports.”

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