A rejuvenated Carl Frampton is on the world title trail once again this year, as he aims to put a highly disappointing 2017 behind him and reach the pinnacle of the sport once again.
The Belfast native enjoyed the best year of his career to date in 2016, as he outpointed long-standing Manchester rival Scott Quigg in his own backyard, before going on to secure a thrilling decision success over Leo Santa Cruz in America.
He was also voted Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year for his heroics both in the UK and the United States, while his initial clash with Mexican opponent Santa Cruz was in the running for Fight of the Year, too.
But, if that was his best year so far, 2017 was undoubtedly the worst. Frampton endured the maiden loss of his professional career to Santa Cruz in a highly awaited rematch on American soil again. He subsequently lost his featherweight world title and eventually also had to deal with the split from his long-serving mentor and manager Barry McGuigan. Meanwhile, trainer and Barry’s son, Shane McGuigan, also split from Frampton.
Although, he is now back on track and has since got involved with new coach Jamie Moore and latest promoter Frank Warren. Under the guidance of these new members of his team, he rallied to a points win over Horacio Garcia.
Next up, after that returning victory in front of his own passionate supporters, Frampton will take on former four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire on April 21st, a dangerous Filipino fighter still seeking another late surge at glory in his own respective career.
The Northern Irishman is seen as the odds-on 1/6 favourite with most bookies to come out on top in this interesting match-up in Belfast, a price which can be capitalised on through free bets from Champions Bets. With a world title shot possibly next for ‘the Jackal’, he will be out to put on his best showing to date to secure another crack at those honours on home soil in 2018.
Donaire is regarded as the big outsider to prevail on his travels to Northern Ireland, but the now 35-year-old is still a dangerous threat to Frampton’s own dreams of once again becoming a world champion.
The latter Tiger’s Bay fighter is likely to land a shot against the winner of IBF titleholder Lee Selby and Leeds-born challenger Josh Warrington this coming summer, but he’s fully aware of the threat currently in front of him.
“He’s still a dangerous opponent. He’s definitely a huge puncher still and it’s something I need to be aware of,” stated Frampton.
“I’ve always said the last thing to leave a fighter is their punching power. But he’s been as low down as 115lbs. I feel I’m the naturally bigger man. I still believe he’s a huge puncher but I think I can punch equally as hard.”
Frampton is on the verge of landing himself a dream night in Belfast with a world title shot against either Selby or Warrington this summer, but he must first get past dangerous veteran Donaire.