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Carl Frampton is hoping for short delay to homecoming

Jackal and Mexican could fight in October

They could have sold out the arena three times over; the Belfast homecoming of Carl Frampton for many of his fans seemed to have taken on the feel of a victory party this week but sadly it all fell flat.

The day didn't start too well for the Belfast man when he failed to make the 9st limit for his WBC World featherweight title eliminator with Andres Gutierrez, scaling a pound over the limit.

The 30-year-old has proved himself over the past four years to be an elite force in world boxing and the finest post-war Irish fighter, so the Gutierrez threat was expected to be extinguished but after his battle with the weight there was some doubt in the air.

But then came the devastating news that Mexican Gutierrez had fallen in his hotel shower, suffering broken teeth and nasty injuries to his chin and nose, which meant he couldn't go through with the biggest night of his career.

Frampton's highly anticipated homecoming was off.

Jake McGuigan, Head of Boxing at Cyclone Promotions, like everyone else connected to the show was left stunned.

"When I got the news from his promoter I just couldn't believe what I was hearing - it's such a freak accident," said McGuigan, who along with his dad Barry will now start planning when Frampton can return to the ring.

"We would like to reschedule the fight but I don't know if Gutierrez will be able to box before Christmas because the injuries are really bad.

"We will look to have Carl out again in Belfast and we'll probably look at October."

Frampton was equally shocked at the news and showed his sympathy for the 24-year-old Mexican by making sure he met up with him and wished his fellow fighter well last night.

The shocking cancellation came just hours after Frampton had failed to make the 126lb limit, which meant the fight was only going to be a WBC title eliminator for the Mexican.

Social media went into overdrive with wild allegations and that led Frampton to issue a statement to his fans.

The former featherweight champion stated: "After a long training camp of intense preparation and trying to make weight, I was disappointed that I came in 1lb over the featherweight limit today. I tried everything I could to cut down, but unfortunately my body just wouldn't allow it in the end.

"I'd like to apologise to the fans that have got involved and shown incredible support throughout this frantic fight week, and to those that will be cheering me on to victory on Saturday night.

"Furthermore, I would like to apologise to my opponent Andres Gutierrez - who will still have the opportunity to win the WBC eliminator on Saturday.

"I'm gutted, but at the same time I acknowledge that I am responsible. I'm still very much looking forward to returning home tomorrow night in front of the best fans in the world.

"I am sure that I will put on an explosive performance and claim victory. Thanks again to the Jackal Army - the turnout today was unbelievable."

Due to not making the weight, Frampton was also going to have to forfeit a percentage of his purse money as that is the usual agreement when a weight limit has been set for a fight.

Frampton will now take a break and probably return to training in a couple of weeks' time as he waits to see when he will return to the ring.

He had hoped to show his fans that he is fully over that bitter loss to WBA World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas in January.

"I'm over it now, I've evaluated it - I got beat by a future Hall of Fame fighter who boxed out of his skin so when you put it that way, if I'm performing I can still beat guys like Leo Santa Cruz. The desire and hunger is still there to get back to the top," said Frampton.

"I hated that feeling of losing and I don't want to feel it again. It took me some time to get over the loss to Santa Cruz, some people are different... but that loss did affect me. I was down in the dumps, I felt like I had let people down and I have to thank my wife Christine for giving me a shake and sorting me out.

"The big nights in Vegas and New York are nights I'll always remember and hopefully nights the people will remember and hopefully we can have a few more nights like that and a few more big nights at home too."

Belfast Telegraph


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