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Carl Frampton fight off after Gutierrez suffers freak accident before the bout

By Adruian Rutherford

Boxing fans were left reeling last night after Carl Frampton's big homecoming fight was dramatically called off.

The eagerly-anticipated bout against Mexican Andres Gutierrez - his first in Northern Ireland for more than two years -was cancelled at just 24 hours' notice after his opponent suffered a freak accident.

Gutierrez suffered facial cuts, bruising to the head and broke two teeth after slipping in the shower.

The news broke shortly after 10pm last night.

A stunned Frampton said he was "gutted" - but admitted it was the right call.

He told the BBC: "I'm disappointed, gutted - however you want to say it.

"It's a freak accident, unfortunate - you can't really write things like this.

"I've seen Andres Gutierrez there and for the fighter's safety there's absolutely no way that he could box.

"It's a dangerous sport and I don't think physically he should have been allowed to box, and he wasn't."

Carl's wife Christine tweeted: "Devastated & heartbroken. For everyone."

A photograph released by the Gutierrez camp showed the gruesome injury.

Promoter Barry McGuigan said the safety of Gutierrez was the priority, and they were working to reschedule the fight.

He added: "We're all so disappointed. It was a freak accident.

"He slipped in the shower, smashed his face, the guy is concussed. He has a deep gash on his chin, his nose, lost two of his teeth."

In a statement Cyclone Promotions and the SSE Arena said it was with "regret" that the fight had been cancelled.

"It is hoped that the event will be rescheduled but ticket holders are advised to retain their tickets and contact point of purchase for further information," it said.

"We very much regret the inconvenience caused."

The news meant crushing disappointment for thousands of fans due to attend tonight's bout.

The clash had sold out within two minutes of tickets going on sale last month.

Around 9,000 fans were expected to pack into the SSE for Frampton's first fight in Belfast since beating Chris Avalos in February 2015. It was to be the Jackal's homecoming fight after a WBA super-featherweight defeat by Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas in January.

Former British, Commonwealth, European and WBO super featherweight Alex Arthur was among those due to attend the fight. He tweeted last night: "Gutted I won't be heading to Belfast for Frampton vs Gutierrez now... devastating for all involved. Poor fighters, such a shame."

The day had brought drama when Frampton weighed in a pound over the featherweight limit, leading Frampton to apologise to fans.

See pages 54 and 55

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