Carl Frampton is set to finally get it on with European super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez at the Odyssey Arena in January.
It is understood that promoter Eddie Hearn has agreed terms with the promoters of Martinez, who won the purse bids for Frampton’s mandatory challenge to the Spaniard, to bring the mouthwatering showdown to Belfast.
Martinez has pulled out of the fight with Frampton on two occasions and the Belfast man’s manager, Barry McGuigan, will find it hard to be totally convinced that the champion will go through with it a third time around.
But, it does now seem that the best option for Martinez at this stage of his career is to face Frampton as he will receive one of the biggest pay-days of his career.
The two men were to have boxed in September but instead Frampton stepped up to demolish two-time world champion Steve Molitor, catapulting him into the top 10 of at least two of the major governing bodies.
Not only will the European title be on the line in January but it is also very likely that as both men are highly rated it may also be a world title eliminator.
Promoter Hearn confirmed that he would be speaking to former world champion McGuigan this week about the options open to Frampton and Martinez will be high on the agenda.
“The Martinez fight is still a very attractive fight, the styles blend so well and of course it has been a fight for a long time that the public want. But after beating Molitor he gave himself a lot more options — whoever he fights next it is going to be a world rated fighter,” said Hearn.
Martinez is the ideal opponent for Frampton who was at ringside on Saturday night at the Ulster Hall to see Irish light-middleweight champion Lee Murtagh narrowly retain his title with a 96-95 victory over Ballyclare’s Willie Thompson.
In a scrappy affair there was little between the two but Murtagh seemed to just deserve the decision, though promoter Alan Wilton said: “I thought Willie did enough to nick it.”
The most entertaining bout came at featherweight when Stevie Quinn jnr had to come through some hairy moments to outpoint Glasgow’s Ryan Mitchell 40-37 in an all-southpaw affair.
Unbeaten Quinn suffered a cut around both eyes in the second round, which required a doctor’s inspection, but he managed to settle down and score from distance. While the verdict was never in doubt, Quinn nevertheless will need a good deal more schooling to knock off the raw edges.
Shankill Road featherweight Marc McCullough impressed with a first round stoppage of Bulgarian Valetin Marinov , flooring his opponent with a wicked body shot. There was joy for featherweights Daniel McShane and Paul Quinn on their debuts with both lads clearly bringing the majority of the fans to the Ulster Hall.
Belfast slugger McShane stopped Evengi Geshev at 43 seconds of the third round after a right to the body doubled up his opponent in pain. Quinn outpointed Hungarian Ignac Kassai.
Other results: Middle: Paul Moffett bt Gavin Putney rtd3; Matthew Wilton bt Liam Griffith 40-36.
Feather: James Tennyson bt Tibor Meszaros rsc1.Light-middle: William Warburton bt Gerard Healy 39-37.
lDavid Price laughed off a bizarre television outburst from domestic rival Tyson Fury in the aftermath of his one-round demolition of Audley Harrison.
British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Price knocked out Harrison after 82 seconds as fans in his home town of Liverpool were treated to a clinical display of fearsome power punching.
But Fury lambasted Harrison, Price's promoter Frank Maloney and Price himself — who he then bizarrely suggested had a “gay lover” in Liverpool's British light-heavyweight champion Tony Bellew.
In the early hours of this morning, Fury posted a video on his Twitter page where he repeated the bizarre claim and the improbable prospect of taking on Price and Bellew at the same time, telling the former: “I'm going to put you in intensive care.”
Price said: “He's round the bend. I don't know what to make of that. He cannot handle other people getting praise and credit and that's why he spat his dummy out on TV and made an absolute fool of himself by the sound of it.
“He can say what he wants, honest to God.”