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Carl Frampton's focus is on world view

By David Kelly

Carl Frampton vacated his European and Commonwealth titles yesterday in the knowledge that 2014 is all about world title glory.

The two belts have served the purpose in elevating the Belfast man to number two in the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council ratings.

Rather than have to concern himself with mandatory title defences of either belt, Frampton can now focus solely on either a world title eliminator or straight world title shot.

Recently married Frampton has become hot property in the super-bantamweight division, not just because of his punching power but also the box office appeal that he now generates.

The next step for Team Frampton is to attend the December 21 IBF World super-bantamweight title defence of Kiko Martinez (right) against South African Jeffrey Mathebula in Alicante.

Former champion Mathebula will start the slight underdog against Martinez, though some feel he could upset the odds and should he win then there would seem to be more chance of Frampton having a world title shot in his next fight.

As for Martinez, his camp have made it clear they would rather the Spaniard have a voluntary defence before having to face the Belfast man, which could put a world title fight back to September or October.

Frampton is expected to become the mandatory challenger after the Martinez-Mathebula clash, though it is possible the IBF could order a final eliminator.

WBC champion Leo Santa Cruz has also become an option for Frampton whose manager Barry McGuigan has had positive vibes from Showtime, who screen the titleholder's bouts.

"Showtime and Golden Boy have said they are interested in Santa Cruz fighting Carl at some stage," said McGuigan, who feels that Frampton's reign as European and Commonwealth champion has come to a natural end.

"Everybody vacates the European title before they go for the world title. I think we have served the EBU and Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Council have been very patient with us, waiting for us to make a defence, so it was the right time to vacate the belts."

Frampton has held on to his IBF inter-continental belt, having already defended it three times and a shot at the IBF's World title remains the main aim for the 26-year-old. McGuigan added: "We'll be at ringside for the Martinez-Mathebula fight and we'll be making the winner a very big offer to come to Belfast to fight Carl.

"I think Kiko probably has the edge in that fight but Mathebula is a tough guy – he was in a very tough fight with Nonito Donaire and went 12 rounds despite a broken jaw so you can't write him off.

"But once we know the winner of that fight then we'll have a better idea of where we are at.

"It's very encouraging that Carl has moved up to number two in the WBC and in the latest WBO ratings he is up to number five."

Frampton's big domestic rival Scott Quigg defends his WBA title on November 23 and then again in March – with Martinez one of his targets in what would be a big world title unification title showdown.

Belfast Telegraph


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