Frampton plans to clean up at 122 pounds
IBF junior featherweight titleholder Carl Frampton is convinced he will be every bit as effective when he steps up a division. Meanwhile, the undefeated Irishman’s mentor and manager, Barry McGuigan envisages his compatriot going even further and ruling supreme at lightweight also.
Rest assured, though, such bullish declarations are very much about the mid-to-long term picture. Right now, Frampton (20-0, 14 knockouts) insists his only aim is to clean up at 122 pounds – a point he was quick to stress after a successful first defense of the IBF belt on Saturday night in his home city of Belfast.
Having secured an emphatic fifth round TKO over American Chris Avalos, totally outclassing him from start to finish, Frampton immediately targeted a much anticipated, all-British scrap against English contender Scott Quigg (30-0-2, 22 KOs), who was at the Odyssey Arena working for ITV Sport and, as always, says he is willing to oblige.
But if that fails to materialize – the Frampton camp is already making it abundantly clear to Quigg’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, that they are the star attraction – then 28-year-old Frampton will happily head straight to the top of the junior featherweight ratings and look for a shot at THE RING champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, also the WBO and WBA beltholder.
To be deemed the very best in the business, you have to beat the very best. That’s how Frampton, the magazine’s number one at 122 pounds, views a potential blockbuster with the unbeaten Cuban sensation.
“I really believe I am the biggest puncher in the super bantamweight world and I am getting better and better,” said Frampton to BBC Five Live in the early hours of Sunday. “This was my best performance yet. Avalos is a hungry fighter, very aggressive, very game, very up for it. But I kept my composure. He said to me during the fight, ‘You punch like a p**sy.’ Then he had to be carried out.
“I spoke with Scott Quigg afterwards and he told me it was a good fight. I believe the Quigg fight has to happen nextÔÇªas long as he and his team realize I am the world champion. But if he lets Eddie Hearn make the decisions, then the fight might not happen because Eddie tends to get in the middle of things and spoil everything.
“As long as they understand who the big draw is, it should be alright. We won’t do the same numbers as Carl Froch and George Groves did last summer but it’s certainly the biggest domestic fight out there just now and I am sure we could do a small stadium somewhere. It would be a big ticket seller.
“I want to fight Quigg and then after that, it’s the main man in the division – Rigondeaux. If I want to prove I am the best, then he is the man I have to beat and I am quite happy to fight him.”
McGuigan, whose son, Shane, is Frampton’s trainer, can barely contain his excitement at what lies ahead for the rest of 2015 and beyond.
“Frampton is in a different league – this is kid is unbelievable at super bantamweight,” said McGuigan, who celebrated his 54th birthday on Saturday. “Avalos is ranked by all the organizations but Carl played with him and then took him out.
“He is the best super bantamweight out there and that includes Guillermo Rigondeaux, Leo Santa Cruz and Scott Quigg. We want to get the chance to prove we can beat all these guys. We are honestly willing to do business with everyone.”
As for moving up divisions, Frampton claims there is no rush as, at present, he finds making the 122-pound limit a breeze.
“I have a long time left in this division,” he said. “I feel comfortable making the weight each fight. In fact, it seems to get slightly easier with every training camp as the body is adapting to it better. But after we get a couple of big fights here, then we will move on to featherweight.”
McGuigan, a former featherweight titleholder, reiterated those comments before suggesting junior lightweight would be also well within Frampton’s reach.
“Carl is huge and he is strong and he can go on to featherweight and super featherweight,” said McGuigan. “I really do think he can be one of the greatest Irish fighters there’s ever been.”
Harry Pratt is on Twitter: @gharrypratt