Carl Frampton still on collision course with Oscar Valdez despite WBO ruling
CARL Frampton's showdown with WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez could still go ahead despite the World Boxing Organisation's decision to order the Mexican to defend his title against number one contender Shakur Stevenson in his next fight.
Subject to seeing off Emmanuel Gonzalez in Philadelphia on August 10, Frampton has targeted a showdown with Valdez for later this year. The WBO's ruling has put that fight in some doubt but Valdez's manager insists that his fighter wants “a big name” and MTK sources are confident that 2016 Olympic silver medalist Stevenson (12-0) will step aside so long as he is guaranteed a shot against the winner of Frampton-Valdez, should that fight happen.
The developments only increase the importance of a Frampton win against Gonzalez in Philadelphia.
“Oscar Valdez wants a big name, either (Josh) Warrington or Frampton,” said Espinoza.
“He feels he deserves a fight with one of them. Valdez has been at featherweight for his whole career and defended his title 6 times successfully.
“It's no longer easy make the weight but will for Warrington or Frampton. He feels he deserves those names.”
The WBO has set a purse bid deadline for Friday, August 2 but Top Rank boss Bob Arum will have the final say on whether the Valdez versus Stevenson fight takes place. Both are signed to his organisation but so too are Frampton and Warrington and Frampton's camp remain confident that the fight will take place if and when he gets past Mexican Gonzalez at the Licouras Center on August 10.
Meanwhile, Paddy Barnes will now take on Mexican Armando Torres (subject to approval) on the Michael Conlan versus Diego Alberto Ruiz Falls Park undercard on August 3 after his original opponent, John Chuwa of Tanzania, pulled out of their Feile bout. Torres (23-18) is a former IBO Inter-Continental flyweight title challenger.
“This show definitely a high point for Belfast boxing,” said Barnes.
“Carl Frampton has been leading the way and now you have this event, where you'll have about 11,000 so it's a massive platform for all the Belfast boxers.
“It's unbelievable to be fighting in Belfast again – especially on an event as big as Féile. I've been to it every year and it's an amazing occasion. The place is always packed and buzzing. Belfast fans don't just love boxing – they love their own doing well.”
Also on the at the Falls Park undercard, Omagh super-featherweight Callum Bradley is looking forward to the third fight of his promising professional career. Bradley – younger brother of former Connor McGregor sparring partner Tiarnan – has moved to 2-0 this year after a pair of points wins at the Ulster Hall and takes on Jose Hernandez at the Feile.
“This is a massive event for my career as a fighter,” he said.
“It's great to be on a card with the likes of Mick Conlan, Paddy Barnes and then an international star like Luis Arias, who's another big name.
“I'm loving fight on these big nights. They're what I've dreamed of since I was a young kid and I can't wait for this one.
“My fan base is already great and I think they'll be even louder than usual at Féile.
“I've been working on loads of things in the gym and I'm ready to show it all on August 3. Fans can expect a masterclass of hitting and not getting hit.”