Carl Frampton fight with Scott Quigg moves step closer
Carl Frampton's eagerly awaited clash with Scott Quigg is now "the closest it has ever been", the Belfast fighter's camp have revealed.
Barry McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions are believed to be on the verge of striking a deal with Quigg's promoter Eddie Hearn for a world title unification clash in February, with Manchester the likely venue.
'The Jackal' successfully defended his IBF super bantamweight title against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr in Texas in July, Quigg stopping Kiko Martinez to retain the WBA version of the crown in Manchester on the same night.
The pair have been on a collision course for most of their careers, but at last it appears a deal is about to be agreed.
Shane McGuigan - son of boxing legend Barry as well as being Frampton's trainer - said: "The fight is the closest it has ever been and I am very excited about that because Carl is going to smash Quigg up.
"I have never been so confident that the fight will be made. We are looking at early next year. That's the next possible pay-per-view slot."
Frampton is keen to tackle Quigg even though the Bury boxer stopped Martinez in two rounds, the Spaniard having taken the 28-year-old the distance when the Belfast man won the world title last year.
But Frampton warned that he sees himself as the star attraction and would thus expect the lion's share of the purse, especially if the fight is in Manchester which is virtually the 26-year-old's back yard.
Frampton said: "We are now very confident the fight will happen - it's closer than it has ever been.
"I hope Quigg sees sense and we get this fight on because it's a huge fight. I have the bigger fan base and a lot of people have seen me boxing on ITV.
"Quigg is going to lose but it gives him the opportunity to put himself in the limelight.
"Talks have started again. He is not going to fight me in Belfast but I always knew that. A neutral venue is one of the things we want.
"As the 'A' lister in the fight, I shouldn't really have to travel to Manchester which is Quigg's back yard."
Frampton admitted that Quigg will be a tough opponent.
"I would never say a fight is going to be easy because anything can happen in boxing," he said.
"I always knew that Quigg could punch but I have the style to beat him comfortably.
"I always believed that I could beat Quigg and I still believe that, even though he stopped Kiko Martinez."
The two camps have been arguing over money for months, culminating in Quigg and Eddie Hearn offering Frampton a cheque for £1.5million live on television.
Frampton said: "I was embarrassed for them, it made me cringe. I could ask for anything up to 75 per cent of the purse for this fight but I am not doing that so we are being very generous.
"Yes, £1.5million is a lot of money and I wouldn't want people to think that I take it lightly. But it's not a realistic offer.
"I know what I am worth and I know how much money this fight will generate and it's a lot more money than that.
"My decision has been justified because Quigg's camp have now returned to the table and I think the fight will happen.
"I really want this fight and I have wanted it for a long time.
"It's a massive fight and a massive pay day, the biggest I can get.
"But I can get massive pay days elsewhere. I have other options.
"Eddie Hearn has said some derogatory things about me and my camp, and that doesn't make it any easier. But we are prepared to work with him."
Hearn responded: "The McGuigans are now telling me that they want to get it done so I honestly believe that the Frampton fight will be made."