Big rivals Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg reach for the sky at last
Jackal ready to rumble in world title unification showdown
It's been four years in the making and both Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg are promising a fight to remember when they clash at the Manchester Arena on February 27.
Indeed, it may not even end there as Belfast would be the venue for a re-match should their blockbuster Sky pay-per-view clash live up to all expectations.
Quigg's promoter Eddie Hearn and Frampton's Cyclone Promotions outfit, headed by CEO Barry McGuigan, have been engaged in negotiations since the summer - almost immediately after the Jackal's successful American debut when he outpointed Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez jnr. On the same July 18 night, Quigg knocked out Kiko Martinez - the man from whom Frampton took his IBF belt.
Now both the IBF and WBA World title belts are on the line in a lucrative showdown which promoter Hearn says will "secure the financial futures of both fighters".
Frampton, who earlier in the year turned down a £1.5m offer from Eddie Hearn, is relishing the opportunity of finally facing Quigg who has repeatedly voiced his belief that he is the number one super-bantamweight in the world.
"I'm delighted that we have finally got this fight signed. This is the fight everyone has wanted for years, none more so than myself. I'm the legitimate champion and I'm going to his backyard to defend my title because that's what champions do. On February 27 the fans will find out who the real champion is, I'm going to win this fight in style," said Frampton, who along with Quigg signed on the dotted line live on Sky Sports last night (pictured).
"I've been after this guy for four years, when he was British champion I wanted the fight but it didn't happen."
When Hearn made his audacious £1.5m offer for a summer showdown, the 29-year-old Belfast man dismissed it as "a publicity stunt" and he wasn't backing down from that assertion as he looked ahead to February 27.
"I thought it was a massive publicity stunt, we all know that the fight is worth a lot more money than that. Of course £1.5m is nothing to be sniffed at but I'll make a lot more in this fight now so it just goes to prove that my decision was right," added Frampton, who expects the 'Jackal Army' to make themselves heard in the Manchester Arena.
"I said that I'd fight him anywhere, I know I'll bring a lot of fans - I was at the Paul McCloskey and Amir Khan World title fight and that was great - this will be special.
"I think Scott is a good fighter and I think he has improved and he's a big puncher, a dangerous puncher but I'll do whatever it takes to win."
Quigg laid down his own marker immediately. "I respect every fighter, no dislike to Carl but on February 27 I'm out to take his head off," said Quigg.
"It's been a long time coming, it's the fight I wanted for a long time and I couldn't be more happier When you have a fight of this magnitude you know that negotiations are going to be tough... I just can't wait."
Despite Frampton being the bigger box office attraction by some margin, Quigg has effectively been handed home advantage but that is no concern for the Belfast man's manager, former world champion Barry McGuigan who at the signing of the fight said: "It makes no difference because a ring is a ring."
McGuigan added: "It will be a momentous occasion for British and Irish boxing.
"This is the fight the fans have craved and the one we have wanted all along. The atmosphere will no doubt be electric, but there is only going to be one winner on February 27, Carl 'The Jackal' Frampton."
Hearn could not hide his delight at making the fight happen.
"It would have been easy to give up when at 1am in the morning you're doing the 17th draft of the contract but we have an obligation to the fans... and February 27 is a night that will secure their financial futures for the rest of their lives.
"This is a huge fight not just here but in world boxing… I remember when Paul McCloskey fought Amir Khan and the atmosphere was great that night - this is on another level and so many opinions are divided on the outcome."
Meanwhile, Hearn also confirmed that unbeaten Belfast man Ryan Burnett will face Jason Booth for the vacant British bantamweight title at the Manchester Arena on November 21.
"Jason Booth is the most experienced and successful pro I have fought yet," said Burnett. "I know that the better the opponent the better I am."