Ring Magazine’s 2016 Fighter of the Year Carl “The Jackal” Frampton returns to the ring against undefeated contender Luke “Action” Jackson for the interim World Boxing Organisation World Featherweight Title this Saturday, Aug. 18 at Windsor Park, Belfast.
After losing the rematch to Leo “El Famoso Terremoto” Santa Cruz, Frampton ( 25-1, 14 KOs) bounced back scoring consecutive unanimous decision wins against former champion Nonito Donaire this past April as well as Horacio “Violento Garcia (34-4-1, 25 KOs) in Nov. 2017.
Regardless of claims that defeating a Donaire past his prime was nothing impressive, Frampton gained momentum and confidence to face an undefeated fighter hungry for a title.
“I’m better now than I was against Nonito Donaire,” Frampton told the media. “… I’m in my prime now, and you’re going to see bigger performances.”
Looking to stay undefeated, Jackson (16-0, 7 KOs) plans to give Frampton the same treatment as his last opponent, who he knocked out on the second round. Though the knockout was impressive, his Thai opponent Surachet Tongmala (7-10, 4 KOs) wasn’t the most difficult challenge given by his pro record.
Because Jackson has not faced an undefeated fighter since 2014 and has never fought over ten rounds, most boxing fans expect Frampton to make easy work of the Australian featherweight. However, Jackson insists Frampton would be making a mistake to overlook him.
“At the start, maybe I thought he was overlooking me a bit,” Jackson said at the final press conference. “But I think he understands what’s at stake; if he loses to me, his career is pretty much over.”
Frampton versus Jackson will be a spectacular show in Belfast as is guaranteed to deliver action-packed rounds. Should Frampton rise victorious, a possible third fight with Santa Cruz could be an option for the Irish featherweight to avenge his only loss.
In the co-main event, Nicaraguan flyweight Cristofer “El Latigo” Rosales will make his first title defense against former Olympic medalist Paddy “The Leprechaun” Barnes in what will be Barne’s first 12-round scheduled contest.
Rosales (27-3, 18 KOs) acquired the World Boxing Council World Flyweight title by knocking out the then-undefeated Japanese knockout artist Daigo Higa (15-1. 15 KOs) and ending his perfect knockout streak in his own territory. Since Higa had come above the flyweight limit, the title was no longer at stake for him and Rosales took the opportunity to give it his all for the title. Though both warriors went toe-to-toe exchanging massive shots, in minute 1:42 of the ninth round, Higa’s corner stopped the fight.
When asked if he felt uncomfortable to be at Barne’s turf to defend his title, Rosales seemed confident when saying he was more than ready to defend his title successfully.
“I’m not scared of any of that,” Rosales said in Spanish. “I’m used to fighting in other people’s territories and I’m confident I’ll retain my title. In the ring, it’s only going to be Pad and me and there’s no inconvenience knowing that.”
Barnes (5-0, 1 KO) is also coming off a knockout victory against Nicaraguan contender Eliecer “Huracan” Quezada (21-8-3, 8 KOs) who also failed to make weight prior to the contest ineligible to obtain the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Flyweight title. Barnes delivered a brutal left to the body that immediately sent Quezada to the canvas in minute 3:06 of the sixth round.
With a short professional career, Barnes has never been scheduled a 12-round bout, however, the former Olympian is not to be underestimated as he won bronze medals at the Beijing and London Olympics and plans to make history by winning a world title in his hometown of Belfast, Ireland.
“To become world champion especially in my own city, would be the best thing ever,” Barnes said at the final presser. “It’s my first time I’m gonna fight in front of such a large crowd and in my home setting, it’s something I’m really excited to do.”
In the heavyweight bout, Tyson Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) will take on two-time World Heavyweight Title challenger Francesco Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KOs) in an attempt to prove he’s still the man to beat in the heavyweight division.
Fury made his return to the ring early June against Albania’s Sefer Seferi (23-2, 21 KOs) in what turned out to be one of the most awkward mismatches in boxing history. Fury appeared to be almost twice the size as Seferi, who was unable to land a proper punch on Fury due to height and reach disadvantages.
In the second round, both fighters took a momentary break to look at the rowdy crowd which had broken up into a fight which seemed much more competitive than the one in the boxing ring. Though Fury was unable to knockout or even send Seferi to the canvas, the bout came to an end after the fourth round when Seferi’s corner pulled him out of the fight.
Some fans thought that after such a disappointing fight, Fury would return with a vengeance to take over the heavyweight division. However, most fans seem to understand Fury has the right to a couple of tune-up fights before taking on A-class fighters once again.
Pianeta is coming off a loss against undefeated Croatian prospect Petar Milas (12-0, 9 KOs), and has suffered knockouts three out of his four losses. Though he had acquired the IBO International Heavyweight Title in July 2017, the victory was short-lived, as he immediately lost his title to Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson (32-10-1, 16 KOs) three months later.
Fury reached a peak in his professional career after defeating Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in 2015 before testing positive for a banned substance, which he later blamed on consumption of wild boar. Since his return, Fury has taken to Instagram to reassure his fans he’d become undisputed champion once again.
Perhaps his more controversial video was posted shortly after negotiations between promoter Eddie Hearn and WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) for a fight with British boxing star Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) fell off. In the video, Fury apologized on behalf of his countrymen and challenged Wilder to fight him instead.
“I’ll fight you in three seconds,” Fury said. “…Send me the contract, and I’ll show you how long it takes to sign it. Ten seconds., done. Signed, stamped, delivered, photograph taken, uploaded on Instagram.”
Most fans predict Fury to dominate Pianeta and given rumors of a possible fight with Wilder close to being done, most fans expect the mega-fight to be announced immediately post-fight. With Wilder flying to Belfast to make a presence at the fight, the idea that Wilder vs. Fury will be announced post-fight isn’t too far-fetched. As we know, it wouldn’t be the first time Fury and Wilder exchange words at a post-fight interview.
Showtime Boxing will stream the card on their youtube and facebook pages starting at 12:20 p.m PT/3:3o p.m. ET.