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Back to the future for Carl Frampton as he seeks to fire again

 

By David Kelly

Carl Frampton has never been one for allowing himself to become something that he is not, and that's why a tinge of anger remains surrounding the loss of his WBA World featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz.

Frampton went to Las Vegas in January as the World Fighter of the Year for 2016 on the back of victories over Santa Cruz and Scott Quigg. Headlining at the MGM Grand, the Jackal was ready to put on a show but, despite a close fight, he didn't hit the heights expected in his re-match with Santa Cruz.

The Mexican had a new game plan and it paid off, while Frampton admits he allowed himself to slip a little from the multi-dimensional pugilist that had answered every challenge in emphatic fashion up to that point.

Now he returns to Belfast for a battle against Mexican young guy Andres Gutierrez this Saturday night, with victory expected to be the springboard back to World title action.

"People have asked me a lot about Las Vegas and whether or not I'm over it, and I am, though it took a while and I've also learned lessons from the loss to Santa Cruz," said Frampton.

"One thing I'm determined to do is to get back to the old me, to get back to the way I used to fight - to box the way I know I can because that's when you'll see the best of me.

"Leading up to the fight I had been having some great sparring. I had knocked out one guy who was a welterweight and then really hurt another fella straight after, so I was hurting guys so much that I think I maybe became a little carried away with my power and forgot about my boxing," said Frampton.

"It was my boxing skills and footwork that got me to the top but even in the first performance against Santa Cruz I was maybe relying a bit too much on my power rather than my boxing.

"In Vegas I believed I could stop him because of the way sparring had gone and maybe I just pushed too hard for that, to get the stoppage, and then when it didn't come I felt I was behind on the cards and ended up chasing the fight which is not my game.

"So in this fight I want to get back to being the boxer I should be. I think I've got a pretty good boxing brain and I should use it. This guy is going to be relentless, this is his big chance, but if I stick to what I do best then I can box the ears off him."

Back in Belfast for the first time in two-and-a-half years, the two-weight World champion is feeling relaxed and refreshed ahead of a bout that comes at a critical point in his career.

"I love the buzz of fight week in Belfast because this is the best fight city in the world. The fans are an inspiration to me and I want to give them another night to remember," added Frampton.

"I want to go out and give a performance that shows I am back to my best and that the defeat to Santa Cruz was a blip. I lost to a three-weight World champion and it was close even though I wasn't at the level I know I can be."

Meanwhile, Saturday night's SSE Arena bill will feature Frampton's latest gym-mate Chantelle Cameron.

The former World kick boxing champion and Team GB High Performance boxer turned professional with manager Barry McGuigan earlier this year and has notched two wins.

Cameron is highly thought of by McGuigan, who believes the Northampton lightweight can quickly surge up the world rankings.

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