Belfast Telegraph

Carl Frampton: This could be my last Belfast bout, let's make it fan-tastic

Northern Ireland's two-weight world champion pulls no punches in his Sunday Life column

Every week Carl Frampton pens a column for the Sunday Life. Here are his thoughts on his upcoming fight and lots more.

It's been a long time coming but finally I am back fighting in Belfast on July 29 and I want it to be a night to remember for the whole country.

Firstly, because this could be the last time I ever box in Belfast. That’s simply due to the really massive names in the division not wanting to fight me in my backyard – they obviously don’t fancy having to handle the Jackal Army! Of course I hope there could be a few more times that I get the chance to fight at home but it’s becoming very difficult and that has been very frustrating for me.

I had to go Manchester for the fight with Scott Quigg and then to America twice for the fights with Leo Santa Cruz and guys like the WBO champion Oscar Valdez and the WBC champion Gary Russell just won’t come here.

So, I just don’t know if there will be another chance after this to box at home and I want everyone to come along and make it special.

Read more: Full details of Carl Frampton's Belfast fight to be announced this week

I have never taken my fans for granted and I never will. They have made me a box office attraction on the world stage – the boxing world woke up to my talent when they saw 16,000 at Titanic Quarter the night I fought Kiko Martinez for the World title and the great nights at the Odyssey Arena when my fans proved they’re the best in the world.

And I know that when I fought Santa Cruz for the second time in Las Vegas in January, the American writers and TV people were amazed at the support – they compared it to when Ricky Hatton brought his supporters and there isn’t any higher praise than that.

I owe my fans this night in Belfast because they have been with me the whole way and I love Belfast, it’s my favourite place in the world so to be back fighting here after two-half-years means the world to me.

I know it has taken a long time to get things sorted and that’s because we got messed around so much.

First of all Santa Cruz didn’t live up to his word when he promised he would fight me in Belfast and most recently Lee Selby, the IBF World featherweight champion wasted our time saying that he could fight me in Belfast when he was still being ordered to face his mandatory challenger Jonathan Barros.

So the really huge names that I wanted just haven’t played ball but we’re not going to be short-changing my fans and the man I will face, who will be announced this week, is a real threat – someone who will guarantee an exciting fight and if I’m not at my best I won’t get the win.

I’m at a critical point in my career after coming off the loss to Santa Cruz and he’s the guy I’m desperate to face, to make up for that defeat in Vegas but the path to him  has got harder. It shows you that in this sport you can’t take anything for granted.

Now it’s time to crank up my training and for the team to get working on a really exciting card for July 29.

CON FOR BILLY JOE!

I’m hoping that Conrad Cummings can get a shot at WBO World middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders who is need of an opponent.

Billy Joe’s original opponent Avtandil Khurtsidze got arrested this week for being linked to a Russian crime gang so he needs someone to be able to step in at short notice and Conrad is already in good shape, waiting for his next fight.

Conrad would relish the chance and I think he has the style to give Billy Joe nightmares.

Billy Joe’s old rival Chris Eubank Jnr has finally got himself into a decent fight again when he defends his title against former world champion Arthur Abraham on July 15.

Abraham is past his best but he should put up a good challenge, and we’ll find out a bit more about Eubank, but to have it as a pay-per-view event on ITV is ridiculous.

BARNES STORMER

I’m looking forward to seeing my mate Paddy Barnes produce his most professional performance so far since leaving the amateur game when he boxes for the WBO European title at the Waterfront Hall.

Paddy is taking on Silvio Olteanu, a former European champion, in only his third fight so it’s a real test in such a short space of time.

I’m glad that Paddy will now have a guy who really wants to come and have a go.

In previous fights Paddy has been a bit too much of a speed demon and needs to sit down on his punches a bit more and pick his shots.

At the moment some may look at him and wonder if he can hit hard enough as a pro, but believe me he can, he will show it eventually.

ANTO GOES FORE-WARD

Anthony Cacace has the opportunity to show his true world class potential when he takes on Martin Ward for the British and Commonwealth super-featherweight titles on July 15 at Wembley Arena.

I know all about Anto as he used to be in our gym and he remains the hardest puncher I’ve shared a ring with. His record might not suggest it but he has the power to hurt any super-featherweight in the world.

I saw him recently in Finaghy and so far out from the fight I was surprised at the shape he’s in. I haven’t seen him that good a condition at this point ahead of a fight so I think it looks good for Anto to take the titles.

Ward is a good fighter and can’t be underestimated but I feel that Anto has the size and power to do it and then even bigger opportunities will open up for him.

ANDRE WIN A SER THING

The rematch that everyone in boxing has been waiting for finally takes place this Saturday night when Andre Ward takes on Sergey Kovalev.

Their first fight was as tight as you could imagine and I actually thought that Kovalev had the edge.

It should be another close affair second time around and I think Ward will nick it again.

I expect Ward to have learned from the first fight and use his super skills to box his way to a points decision.

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