Who will be Carl Frampton's opponent at Windsor Park as Warrington ruled out?
Promoter Frank Warren insists he will deliver “a big fight” for Carl Frampton when the former world champion returns to the ring on August 18 at Windsor Park.
Warren celebrated with Josh Warrington on Saturday when the Leeds hero took the IBF world featherweight title from Lee Selby at an atmospheric Elland Road.
Warrington had stated that he would be willing to come to Belfast to face the Jackal but that fight will not be happening yet, so Warren is now working another opponent.
Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, Warren said: “A fight between Josh and Carl will happen but it is too early for it to take place in August. They’re two great lads with great support and that could end up as a massive outdoor event and we’ll look to make that as soon as we can.
“Josh did a great job on Saturday night taking the title from Selby. I said he would do it and he did and he can look forward to cashing in on that big win.
“Carl has his date at Windsor, he’s the WBO interim featherweight champion and we are looking to make sure he has a big fight at Windsor.”
So if not Warrington, who will be Frampton's Windsor Park opponent?
With Warrington out of the equation for Windsor, the options for Frampton have reduced somewhat.
On June 9, Leo Santa Cruz defends his WBA belt against Abner Mares and the winner of that bout will not box again until November or December, while WBO champion Oscar Valdez is still recovering from his tough night with Scott Quigg in March when he suffered a broken jaw.
Bob Arum, the promoter of Valdez, has stated that the Mexican will not be back in the ring until shortly before Christmas. That leaves WBC champion Gary Russell Jnr, who retained his title on Saturday with a points victory over JoJo Diaz.
Russell Jnr has his eyes on the winner of Santa Cruz v Mares later this year and stated: “We want a unification. We want to unify this division, or we’re moving up in weight for another title. I want another belt.”
Consequently, it would seem that Frampton must look elsewhere for a world title shot — unless the WBO feel that Valdez is going to be out of the ring too long due to injury and so is forced to vacate the title.
As the interim champion, the 31-year-old Belfast man would be automatically upgraded to world champion and subsequently be lined up to make a first defence at Windsor Park.
Otherwise, a world title shot would seemingly have to come at super-featherweight with Frampton bidding to become a three-weight champion. Having just won the WBA lightweight title to seal the same feat, the great Vasyl Lomachenko will have vacated his WBO super-feather title.
Warren is hoping that Frampton’s Windsor Park showdown will be sorted out within the next fortnight and has no doubt he will deliver an exciting clash.