Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Spanish bull no match for fired-up Frampton

Carl Frampton stands tall outside the Europa Hotel yesterday while looking ahead to his European Super-bantamweight title scrap against Kiko Martinez next month

Barry McGuigan knows all about the risks of boxing and he has no doubt that having weighed up the odds the dice is loaded in favour of his protege Carl Frampton landing the European Super-bantamweight title on September 10.

Spanish bull Kiko Martinez will be standing in the way at the Odyssey Arena on the same night Paul McCloskey clashes with Amir Khan conqueror Breidis Prescott.

Champion Martinez is well known to British boxing fans having knocked out Bernard Dunne in a round, lost to former champion Rendall Munroe on points and most recently stopped Jason Booth to win back the EBU belt.

Now the hard-hitting Spaniard has Frampton in his sights and while the Belfast man may be the underdog as he will only be having his 11th fight, former world champion McGuigan believes a special performance awaits next month.

McGuigan said: “There is a risk to this fight and some will say we have taken it too soon and that is fair comment but the game has changed intrinsically over the past 20 to 30 years... a lot of guys take greater risks these days earlier because shows don't make money without TV and you have to take opportunities that television shows provide you with.

“I'm absolutely convinced that Carl Frampton will have too much for Kiko Martinez. He has too any assets and facets as a fighter and I believe he will win this fight.

“He's had a long training camp and he'll be ready. We have great respect for Kiko, he punches hard and takes a shot and he's only been beaten by world class fighters but you haven't seen what I have seen in the gym where we see the ability and all the right criteria to be European champion.

“Tactically we have the game plan to win this fight.”

As for Frampton's ability to handle the most pressurised occasion of his young professional career, McGuigan is equally emphatic about the Tiger's Bay man's composure. He added: “From my experience there are fighters who are diminished by pressure and there are fighters who just flower and this guy loves pressure, even to the extent that when there's nobody in the gym he can spar ordinary but then when there's a crowd he spars extraordinary. He loves pressure occasions.”

Frampton could only sit back and concur at yesterday's press conference in the Europa Hotel. “It's going to be a tough fight, the toughest fight of my career professional or amateur but I don't want to be hanging around fighting guys I'm expected to beat.

“I believe I'm the best super-bantamweight in Europe and I'll prove it on September 10 at the Odyssey Arena.”

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