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Chris Avalos stands in the way of blockbuster year for Carl Frampton


Pain game: Chris Avalos has shown he has the power to do damage at the top level

Pain game: Chris Avalos has shown he has the power to do damage at the top level

Pain game: Chris Avalos has shown he has the power to do damage at the top level

World champion Carl Frampton must turn back the mandatory challenge of American Chris Avalos early next year to stay on course for even more lucrative fights in 2015.

Frampton is the number one box office attraction in the super-bantamweight division and that is why Avalos opted to face the Jackal rather than WBO champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, rated by many as the number one at 122lb but whose style is a turn-off for the major American broadcasters.

Avalos sealed his position as the number one challenger for the IBF World title in May with an eighth round stoppage of Yasutaka Ishimoto in China but former champion Kiko Martinez was given a special exemption to face Frampton in September - when the Jackal ripped the title from his grasp at Titanic Quarter with a sublime performance before a crowd 16,000.

Frampton was immediately ordered to face Avalos and the only delay was due to the newly crowned champion's hand injury but now Cyclone Promotions have confirmed the fight will take place either at the end of February or early March with the expected venue the Odyssey Arena.

Victory for Frampton would then leave him free to pursue fights with the likes of bitter rival Scott Quigg, WBC champion Leo Santa Cruz or the exciting former World featherweight champion Abner Mares.

Avalos will be no pushover, having been the distance with former World champion Jhonatan Romero when only losing on a split decision.

Frampton's coach Shane McGuigan said: "Avalos is a big threat, he has earned the right to be the mandatory challenger and of course he was the mandatory challenger for Rigondeaux as well. He is very confident and clearly fancies his chances.

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"He is a sharp puncher, he doesn't have the power of someone like Kiko but he can hit - he had Romero on the canvas in the first round. He's a good pressure fighter so it should be an exciting fight."

Avalos, who will be in Belfast next week for confirmation of the show's date and venue, is relishing the opportunity to dethrone Frampton.

Avalos said: "I had been wanting the fight with Rigondeaux for 18 months and he didn't want it and then when I became IBF number one challenger he did want the fight but it was a smart decision and a business decision to go for Frampton instead. There's no money in a fight with Rigondeaux because he's a bore, that's the view of HBO and Showtime. There's more money in a fight with Frampton.

"I see myself doing a bit of everything to beat Frampton. I'm not one dimensional, in the past I would have been but I have improved and I've been working on things that I never have before. 

"I've grown up as a fighter and winning the World title means everything to me. I just have to be world champion.

"The fame and the exposure would be cool but to me getting that red and gold belt is the main thing, that means everything. I believe I can spoil the party in front of his home fans."

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