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I'll make 2018 the best year of my boxing life, vows Carl Frampton

By David Kelly

Carl Frampton says victory over Nonito Donaire tomorrow night can spark the best year of his glittering career.

The Jackal, who lost his WBA World featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz last January, is expecting a serious test from multi-weight champion Donaire at the SSE Arena but knows that a win opens the pathway to the career-defining battles he craves.

A world title shot at Windsor Park is the carrot dangling just behind the fists of Donaire and Frampton, the universally-hailed World Fighter of the Year in 2016, says the best is still to come.

"A win over Donaire can kick off a world title shot at Windsor which has always been my dream and then you could quite possibly have a re-match with Leo Santa Cruz in December. That would be the ideal year for me," said Frampton.

"2016 was an amazing year for me - I unified the super-bantamweight titles and then became a two-weight world champion, but if I have the year I want then 2018 would even top that.

"But everything goes up in the air if I don't deal with Donaire. I'll only start thinking and asking questions about Windsor and world title fights come Sunday morning.

"I know that in Nonito Donaire I am facing a proud warrior who has done it all and who believes he can be world champion again. That's why there is so much on the line."

Frampton insists he will triumph tomorrow night, given the condition he is in and also the inspiration he draws from the SSE Arena crowd.

"It's such a special stage for me. There's something about the atmosphere, it's electric. It has a positive effect on me, gives me that little bit extra and I believe it has a bit of a negative effect on the opposition," added Frampton.

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