Carl Frampton's Windsor Park fight won't be against Oscar Valdez
WBO World featherweight champion Oscar Valdez is prepared to come to Belfast to face Carl Frampton - but not this summer at Windsor Park.
Frampton moved into the mandatory position for a shot at Valdez after his sparkling unanimous points victory over Nonito Donaire on Saturday night at the SSE Arena when picking up the WBO interim featherweight title.
But legendary promoter Bob Arum, speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, says that Valdez is still recovering from a broken jaw sustained in his victory over Scott Quigg last month and will require more time before he can return to the ring.
"I'm getting regular updates on Oscar and everything is coming along very nicely, he's not able to eat solid foods but in terms of fighting again I don't think he will be back until around November," said Arum.
"It's not realistic to see him fighting in August but Valdez would love to have a fight with Frampton and if the money was right then he would come to Belfast and fight him."
That means IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby would consequently seem to be in pole position for a showdown with the Jackal at Windsor Park in August, assuming the Welshman comes through his mandatory title defence with Leeds hero Josh Warrington on May 19.
Arum also dismissed the suggestion that the WBO would put pressure on Valdez to make his mandatory defence against Frampton or face being stripped of the title.
"I don't believe there will be any such pressure like that. We have talked to the WBO and explained the situation with his broken jaw, so they are understanding of the situation and we have a very good relationship with the WBO. As long as he defends in the winter they are happy," said Arum.
"Oscar showed a lot of heart in that fight with Quigg, to fight on with the broken jaw - in the same way that Ali had to do when he fought Kenny Norton. He'll be back as good as new and hopefully that fight with Frampton will be made.
"Valdez is becoming a big name in the States because he doesn't engage in boring match-ups. The Mexicans love him, he's a good looking kid and his fan base is growing.
"With Frampton as the interim champion, this has manufactured us a very big fight and that's good. I have a very good relationship with Frampton's promoter Frank Warren, we have been working together doing fights for 40 years so that's not a problem."
Arum used to promote Donaire when the Filipino Flash was at the peak of his powers and wasn't surprised that Frampton came out on top at the SSE Arena.
"Donaire fought most of his fights for us when he was at the lower weights and was a terrific fighter but as he went up in the weights he wasn't as powerful," added Arum.
Now the veteran promoter will turn his attention to Michael Conlan's next fight on May 12 before the Belfast man looks ahead to his highly anticipated homecoming bout at the SSE Arena on June 30.
Belfast Telegraph Digital