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Carl Frampton geared up for a war against American challenger Chris Avalos

By David Kelly

In these days of banal post and pre-match interviews and the bind of political correctness gone mad, Carl Frampton and Chris Avalos jabbed and jibed with menace.

At one point it seemed the champion had reached boiling point as Avalos - from Lancaster, California - rained down his professions of doom with all the fervour of a Televangelist from his side of the Pond.

"Typical Yank, I was expecting this," sniffed Frampton as the first defence of his IBF world super-bantamweight title was confirmed for February 28 at the Odyssey Arena - or the Jackal's Den as it is known on the nights he generates ear-busting noise.

Avalos shot from the lip right away, doing his best to convince everyone that Frampton's reign as champion would come to an abrupt end.

Frampton naturally disagreed - but one thing they did agree on was that they would not be going the 12-round distance.

"Come February 28 I'm going to win and it's not going to be by decision, I know that, he knows that, his promoter knows it and I'll prove it, just you wait and see," snarled Avalos, who disregarded Frampton's comprehensive victory over Kiko Martinez in September at Titanic Quarter when winning the World title.

"I could have got Martinez out of there way earlier, I'm going to get the belt, that belt is mine... everybody here is on his side but I don't care, I know that he is going to lose, get knocked out... fifth or sixth round it's over, it ain't going no longer - it's going to happen.

"I've been studying Frampton a lot, I've noticed what he gets caught with, noticed how he moves - that's why I know I'll beat him and he knows that."

Just when it seemed he couldn't be any more dismissive of the Tigers Bay man, he turned and spat out: "You're weak dude... this is my title punk and you know it."

Little wonder that manager Barry McGuigan did not allow any face-to-face photo opportunities as the Exhibition Room at the Europa Hotel had become a tinderbox.

Frampton was not prepared to stand for the challenger's outpourings and if he needed any more motivation to go light on the Christmas pudding, Avalos had just given him it.

Avalos, ranked the number one challenger for WBO champion Guillermo Rigondeaux as well as Frampton and number four in the WBA, had turned down the chance to face Cuban Rigondeaux in order to have his mandatory shot at the Belfast man.

Frampton said: "He didn't take the Rigo fight because he would get the ears boxed off him - the difference here is that Rigo would box the ears off him, I'll knock him out. The two times he has stepped up he has lost against fringe World class fighters Chris Martin and Jhonatan Romero, I'm the first world class fighter you've fought and you're going to get knocked out.

"Just remember what he has said come February 28 whenever I have knocked him out - I was expecting this but believe me there's only going to be one winner."

The manager of Avalos, Mike Criscio, was quick to reiterate the claims of his fighter and explain away the two losses on his record.

"Against Chris Martin he had a 102 fever and the other guy was 12lbs heavier - we told him not to fight but he insisted - and in the Romero fight he won the fight decisively. One judge had him winning and two didn't and the media frenzy was incredible, he clearly won," said Criscio.

"This fight will be held in the middle of the ring - there'll be 100 punches each and Chris will come out with the victory."

Frampton will train at home until early in the New Year when it will be back to London for the remaining weeks.

"I'll enjoy my Christmas dinner, I'm used to training over Christmas... as an amateur and professional it has always been that way. I'll probably take Christmas Day off but by the look of this guy he'll be skipping the Christmas dinner - he looks a bit pudgy."

Tickets for the fight (£45, £75, £125) go on sale today.

Belfast Telegraph

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