Carl Frampton not impressed as target Jamel Herring defends his WBO title in Las Vegas

Jamel Herring defended his WBO title against Puerto Rican challenger Jonathan Oquendo. Picture by: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.
Andy Watters

JAMEL Herring successfully defended his WBO super-featherweight title in Las Vegas on Sunday night but Carl Frampton – up next for the New Yorker – wasn’t particularly impressed with his performance.

Herring had his hand raised after Puerto Rican challenger Jonathan Oquendo was disqualified for persistent use of his head at the MGM Grand Conference Centre. Afterwards the former US Marine repeated his desire to face Frampton next and that fight should happen in November/December.

When it does, Frampton is more confident than ever of winning after watching Herring-Oquendo. Then again, as he admits himself, ‘the Jackal’ wasn’t particularly flash in his last fight against Darren Traynor either.

“I wasn’t overly impressed to be honest but I suppose he could probably say the same about my last performance,” he said.

“Oquendo is a better fighter than Darren Traynor is, but he was able to get inside (Herring’s defence) in literally the first 20 seconds of the fight and it looked to me that everything had just caught up with Herring overnight.

“But you have to remember that he had back-to-back pull-outs because of Covid so there’s a chance that he may have been over-trained so I won’t be going into the fight thinking that Herring’s done when it eventually gets made.

“It wasn’t a good performance but the circumstances weren’t ideal for him. He seemed to be in a training camp forever for that fight so he may have been over-cooked so we’ll say. Hopefully the fight gets made but I was confident before the Oquendo fight that I would beat him and I’m even more confident now.”

At 37, Oquendo was not expected to trouble Herring but he lasted 10 rounds before referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight after a series of intentional head-butts by the Puerto Rican.

Herring (now 22-2) dropped Oquendo in the second but a blatant head-butt opened up a nasty gash above Herring's right eye and Oquendo was deducted a point in the fifth round. Referee Weeks stepped in to call it off with Herring in control on the scorecards – one judge had him 80-70 in front, while the other had it 79-71.

“It just got ugly,” said Herring afterwards.

“I wasn’t too satisfied with my performance, to be honest with you. In the beginning, everything was going real smooth, me boxing.

“I put him down with an uppercut. We knew he was going to come head-first. We had to time it. In the end, I wasn’t happy with how I was looking. I’m disappointed with the outcome. I’ve never been in that situation.”

Afterwards he confirmed that Frampton is his next target. The pair were due to fight in Belfast in June but the fight was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“I still want the Carl Frampton fight next by all means,” said the New Yorker.

“November, December, whatever. I still want that fight next.”

That’s the date that Frampton – who is due in Belfast High Court today for the start of his case against former manager Barry McGuigan - is working towards.

“Herring was cut and that might push it back to December,” he said.

“As long as we get it in before the end of this year I’ll be very happy and I think we can. The cut was nasty-enough but I’ve seen worse, it wasn’t horrible.

“I think he’ll be out before the end of the year no problem. People talk about my age but Herring’s got a year and-a-half on me so he’s no spring chicken either.

“It doesn’t suit either of us to be hanging around. I’ve just fought, he’s just fought and at this stage of our careers it’s better to keep a bit of momentum.”

Frampton’s last fight was a tune-up against outclassed Aberdeen native Traynor. Frampton took the Scot round for a few rounds before eventually finishing him off with a bodyshot.

“I won every round against Traynor but I think people were expecting me to take him out easier,” he said.

“I had it in my head not to be complacent but once I felt his power in the first 10 or 20 seconds and I knew that he had nothing to trouble me I think complacency crept in.

“And that may have been an issue with Herring where he got a little bit complacent, expecting an easy night against a 37-year-old Oquendo. I’m confident that I can expose things and exploit things that I saw at the weekend.”

Against Traynor, Frampton did look rusty early on but once he stepped it up he blew the Scot away with a series of terrific body shots. He feels that his body-punching has improved since he began working with Jamie Moore.

“I was happy with the win but I never really got out of second gear,” he said.

“I was just going through the motions really with all due respect to Darren Traynor. I still have more gears to go through if required.

“I’m delighted with my body-punching,” he said.

“It has improved massively since I’ve been working with Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis. Three out of the last four guys that I’ve fought have been on the deck through body punches. Before I joined up with Jamie, I’d only had one guy (Jeremy Parodi) on the floor with a bodyshot.

“That (his improved body punching) is something that will help me against Herring.”

ANTHONY Cacace defends his British featherweight title against Leon Woodstock at BT Sport Studios on October 10.

Five weeks out from his defence, ‘the Apache’ is feeling fit but, understandably, “a bit rusty”.

“I had to take a couple of months off because I wasn’t well,” he said.

“I had to get a couple of teeth out and I had a bad infection but I’ve been back training this last month and, considering the time out, I’m feeling relatively fit and healthy.”

Experienced Woodstock beat Craig Poxton to win the WBO European belt in 2017 and also went the distance in title fights against Zelfa Barrett and Archie Sharp.

“He was beaten by Sharp and Zelfa but they were very good fights and entertaining fights and I know he is a very good fighter,” said Cacace.

“He is a good pressure fighter and he brings a lot to the table. A lot of people are writing it off like it’s some sort of easy fight that I should win but I’m not treating it that way. I won that British title at the end of November last year but, by the time I get into the ring again, it’ll be nearly 11 months.

“Before that I had a two-year break near enough. It’s not like I’ve been too active but I’ll be fully concentrating on Woodstock and as long as I get the win I’ll be happy no matter what way I get it.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access