Boxing

Now is a good time to fight Carl Frampton says Scottish underdog Darren Traynor

Carl Frampton and Darren Traynor with Queensbury Promotions chief Frank Warren. Pic: Stephen Dunkley
Andy Watters

Is there a good time to fight Carl Frampton? Darren Traynor, the former scrapyard labourer from Aberdeen who faces Belfast’s ‘Jackal’ in London tomorrow night, says there is and he believes the time is now.

Frampton (33) hasn’t fought since November last year, he’s moving up to lightweight for the first time and Traynor has come in as late replacement for his original opponent Vahram Vardanyan. Traynor is viewed as a keep-busy tune-up before the serious business of fighting WBO super-featherweight world champion later this year and the Scot is the rank underdog. However ‘Trayn Wreck’ intends to cause a “cup upset”.

“I’m just ready to rock-n-roll on Saturday,” Traynor told The Irish News.

“It’s a fantastic chance, a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to it, hopefully I can do the business. It could be a life-changing fight for me.

“I’m the underdog but it’s just me and Frampton in the ring – no-one else. I’ve got to have the belief that I can get in there and beat him. I’m hoping for the cup upset.

“I have nothing to lose, I’ve got it all to gain and I have to go out there and enjoy the experience and get in there and show the real Darren Traynor on the night.”

Frampton has had his moments with underdogs in the past. Indeed, the three knockdowns of his career were at the hands of unheralded Mexicans Alejandro Gonzalez junior (in El Paso) and Horacio Garcia (in Belfast) and fighting at York Hall with no fans watching will be a challenging experience for a man used to headlining in front of packed houses at the SSE Arena.

Traynor has fought at that Belfast venue before but he won’t have happy memories of it. The Scot was left crumpled in a corner by James Tennyson in 2017. But the third round TKO blemish on his 16-3 record conceals the fact that he recovered from a knockdown in the second and had Tennyson in serious trouble later in the round.

Darren Traynor was knocked out by James Tennyson at the SSE Arena in 2017

“Yeah I did hurt him but I should have been more relaxed in that fight,” he said.

“I have to believe in myself and enjoy boxing and being more relaxed in my fights. I think this is a good time to fight Frampton and I have to believe I can go in there and beat him. It’s a fantastic opportunity and it’s something I couldn’t back down from.”

Traynor was paid-off from his scrapyard job during the Covid-19 lockdown and says he has thrown himself into boxing since. He’d already been training for a month when he got the call to replace Vardanyan.

“One I got the news I really got stuck in,” he said.

“The confidence is there and I have to believe in myself. Frampton is a nice, wee technical boxer. He’s more like a counter-puncher and you can’t underestimate him because he’s one of the best fighters in British boxing. I have to focus on the fight and hopefully I’ll get the win on Saturday night.”

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Boxing