Boxing

Carl Frampton has the tools to avoid 'Trayn-Wreck' and set up world title thriller as Michael Conlan prepares to take out Sofiane Takoucht at York Hall

Carl Frampton fights Aberdeen's Darren Traynor at London's York Hall tonight. Pic: Stephen Dunkley
Andy Watters

Boxing: Carl Frampton v Darren Traynor (tonight, York Hall, live on BT Sport 2 from 8pm)

THERE will be no fans at London’s York Hall tonight, no Sweet Caroline and certainly no ‘touching me, touching youuuuuu….’ This is boxing stripped back to basics: two fighters in a ring and may the best man win.

Carl Frampton, fighting at lightweight for the first time, is obviously the better man and should box his way to victory against Aberdeen’s Darren Traynor (also aged 33) who is British title level at best.

That said, fans of ‘The Jackal’ will be relieved when it’s all over.

Frampton has little to gain and everything to lose and his dreams of a super-featherweight world title challenge against Jamel Herring will go up in smoke if he can’t beat have-a-go-hero Traynor who was brought in as a late replacement and has everything to gain.

“Obviously, it was a disaster, the whole lead-up regarding opponents,” said Frampton, who was originally supposed to face Latvia-based Vahram Vardanyan tonight.

“I have to give MTK Global credit. They assumed there could’ve been an issue because of the current situation that the whole world is facing. It turned out Corona didn’t affect anything, but the issue was visa problems for, the original opponent. I think Traynor has been paid by MTK for the last four or five weeks on the chance that this fight may have come about. So, Traynor has been training for me for five weeks. I’ve been training for him for one week.”

With Herring on his radar (Top Rank chief Bob Arum predicts that fights will happen in November), Frampton was originally supposed to fight at super-feather but is stepping up to lightweight tonight. He says that won’t affect him.

“I’ve enjoyed this fight week more than any other because I’ve been doing the weight OK,” he added.

“Although I’m short in stature, I walk around about 150, 148 anyway.”

Traynor is a three-weight Scottish champion but he has been found out and stopped when he has stepped up a level against Ryan Walsh (British title challenge) and James Tennyson in Belfast three years ago.

Even in defeat (he was knocked out in the third round) that night against Tennyson, Traynor did indicate that he cannot be taken for granted. The Scot comes to fight and although he had been put down early in the second he had Tennyson in serious trouble with a thunderous left hook before he came out on the wrong side of a furious exchange.

Frampton won’t have to go looking for the Scot tonight. ‘Trayn-Wreck’ is sure to follow Josh Warrington’s lead by jumping on the Jackal early on and Frampton won’t want to take any risks and he’ll look to stay out of trouble and fight at long or mid-range. Traynor tends to lose balance and fall in when he misses with the right hand and Frampton will counter that with his left hook all night long and break the former scrapyard labourer down.

Complacency is the real enemy for ‘the Jackal’ but he has the experience and quality to win this comfortably against an out-classed opponent. Anything less than a stoppage win will be a disappointment.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

MICHAEL Conlan steps up to European title standard against experienced Sofiane Takoucht in the chief support to Frampton-Traynor tonight.

The Frenchman was laid bare late last year when Josh Warrington took him apart in his Leeds backyard and, as a consequence, he has been largely written off tonight. But he looked well-organised and competitive in the early stages until Warrington squared him up and caught him with a booming right hand and Conlan is expecting to come up against the pre-Warrington Takoucht.

“It’s different situations,” said Conlan.

“Warrington was coming off three great wins against three really top-class opponents, and he faced Takoucht, who is relatively unknown, in his own backyard in front of 20,000 of his fans. I think Takoucht froze in front of the headlights.

“I would be stupid and reckless if I were to go out and try and blast this guy out like Warrington did, but I definitely will be going in to make a statement. I’ll do it in my own way. I don’t need to live up to anybody’s expectations or compare myself to Josh Warrington. I’m Michael Conlan.”

Conlan cruised through old amateur rival Vladimir Nikitin in New York late last year and fight fans have been baying for him to be tested. Without home advantage, against a man who has fought at world title level, he should be tonight.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” he said.

“Something different, something I haven’t experienced as a fighter, boxing in an arena with no one there. It’s exciting me to hear those winces and the pounding of the breath, everything about it.

“It’s something that’s lit a spark under me in training camp. I’ve been sparring with no music on.”

This is Conlan’s last fight before he switches to super-bantamweight and he is focussed and sharp and determined to impress. When the dance ends, the Belfast man’s hand will be raised.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Boxing