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Barnes believes he can steal the show with historic world glory

 

By David Kelly

As detours to a world title shot go, Windsor Park is the perfect path for Carl Frampton.

There is no hiding the fact that Frampton wanted August 18 to be the date when he once again stood on top of the world featherweight division but instead he must overcome one more obstacle in the shape of unbeaten Australian Luke Jackson.

The opportunity of world title success has fallen into the lap of Paddy Barnes, while promoter Frank Warren is also bringing Tyson Fury to the Windsor party as the former undisputed world heavyweight champion takes the second step along his comeback trail having had two and a half years on the sidelines.

Barnes makes a major leap in the level of opposition he has faced so far as a professional when he challenges WBC world flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales in only his sixth professional bout.

The Belfast man will enter as the underdog against Rosales but is convinced he will rise to the occasion and produce a career-defining performance on home soil.

"This fight can make me as a professional. I've achieved good things as an amateur but becoming world champion in my sixth fight would top the lot," said Barnes.

"It's crazy to think that I could be fighting in front of over 20,000 people at Windsor Park for a world title in my sixth fight and I think it will be the fight of the night.

"Rosales is good at what he does, but I feel I have the skill to outfight and outbox him. It will be a very, very hard fight though.

"People will talk about me fighting for a world title after just six fights, but I don't view it as a gamble because of my history as an amateur.

"As a professional, right from the offset I said that I wanted to create history because we already have world champions in Belfast. So for me to stand out I need to create history by doing it the quickest.

"I don't think winning a world title after six fights will ever be matched again here."

Having picked up the WBO interim featherweight title with his victory over Nonito Donaire in April at the SSE Arena, Frampton was placed in the mandatory position for a shot at WBO champion Oscar Valdez, while at the same time the IBF champion Lee Selby had made it clear he was willing to come to Windsor and defend against the Jackal.

Those options were quickly shot down due to the WBO giving Valdez time to recover from a broken jaw and Selby losing his belt to Leeds hero Josh Warrington.

All roads to a world title fight were effectively sealed off as WBA champion and big rival Leo Santa Cruz is now plotting a Christmas unification clash with WBC title holder Gary Russell.

So Frampton now faces Jackson 12 months on from when he feared his Windsor Park dream seemed further away than ever before.

"I thought last year Windsor Park had passed but Frank Warren and the Irish Football Association have done a great job," he said.

"I come here and watch the football team and the atmosphere cannot be beaten anywhere in the world. Its like 80,000 fans giving you support."

Aussie Olympian Jackson will come to Belfast seeking to completely blow Frampton's world title hopes off course, while at the same time placing his fifth-placed ranking with the WBO at risk in what is by far the biggest night of his professional career.

"Carl doesn't do anything great, but he is fundamentally sound and I am here to win. I am not here by luck. It has taken 16 years and I got here through hard work and dedication," said Jackson.

"My life will change overnight if I win. I have been proving people wrong for a long time and I am ready to do it again."

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