GAA Football

Carl Frampton will do whatever it takes to win Nonito Donaire rumble and keep Windsor Park dream alive

Carl Frampton saw off Horacio Garcia in his comeback fight and says he'll do whatever it takes to beat Nonito Donaire in April
Andy Watters

CARL Frampton says he'll do whatever he has to do to beat Nonito Donaire after their on-off rumble was finally confirmed yesterday.

‘The Jackal' says the Filipino is “standing in the way of my Windsor Park dream” and he is determined to demonstrate his world title credentials against the former four-weight champion who, at 35, remains a dangerous operator and arguably the highest profile fighter ever to visit Belfast.

The fight will take place at the SSE Arena on April 21 and Frampton is well aware that defeat could put paid to his dream of fighting for the world title at Windsor Park in the summer.

“It's a brilliant fight - a four-weight world champion against a two-weight world champion,” said Frampton.

“Has a bigger ‘away' fighter ever come to fight in Belfast before? I don't think there's been a bigger name than Nonito Donaire and he's coming to fight a local guy in his hometown.

“But I think both of us are in the same situation – a slip-up here and one of us might never fight for a world title again. There's a lot on the line for both guys.”

Frampton (24-1) last fought in November when he was taken 10 rounds and sent to the canvas (although it was partly a slip) by unheralded Mexican Hector Garcia. His fight with ‘Filipino Flash' Donaire will come almost 15 months after he lost his world featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Donaire (38-4 with 24 stoppage wins) fought just once last year – a points win over Ruben Garcia Hernandez - after losing a world title challenge to Jessie Magdaleno in November 2015. Two of the Filipino's other three defeats also came in world title fights – Nicholas Walters in 2014 and Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2013.

“In terms of the size of a fight, it's not for a world title but the winner of this fight will no doubt get a world-title shot,” said Frampton.

“On the world stage, I think this is a bigger fight than Lee Selby against Josh Warrington, which is a world-title fight, so it's huge,” continued the Belfast native, whose reign as unified WBA & IBF world super-bantamweight champion in 2016 coincided with Donaire's second spell as the WBO 122lb title holder before both men later claimed world featherweight belts.

“He's been at the top of four divisions, but he was in the same weight division as me for quite a while and he's someone I've always kept an eye on,” said Frampton.

“He's someone I admire as well and I think he's a great fighter, but I think this is the perfect fight to get me ready for a world-title fight in the summer.”

Donaire was named 2012 Fighter of the Year by The Ring, ESPN and the Boxing Writers' Association of America (Frampton won the same accolades in 2016). He is eager to prove that he is still an elite force at featherweight.

“This is exactly the type of fight I live for,” said Donaire.

“Gging in against one of the best in the world in the lion's den of his hometown of Belfast. I can't wait for the first bell. I know I'll have to be the best I can be on fight night.

“Make no mistake, I'm already training like never before.”

Tickets for Frampton versus Donaire will be available to purchase from the SSE Arena Belfast Box Office, www.ssearenabelfast.com and (028) 9073 9074 from 10am on Thursday, January 11. Prices range from £40 (tier) to £400 (inner-ring hospitality). Tickets will also be available from MTK Global fighters on the bill.

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