Why Carl Frampton is a better fighter after Josh Warrington defeat, explains coach Jamie Moore
It was supposed to be the night that Carl Frampton became a two-time featherweight champion of the world but Josh Warrington made it one of pain and frustration after 12 brutal rounds in the Manchester Arena.
That was December 22 and 11 months on, as he prepares to face American Tyler McCreary in the early hours of Sunday morning, coach Jamie Moore insists Frampton is an improved pugilist due to the experience of 36 minutes with Warrington.
The Jackal was due to have made his return to the ring in the summer, but a freak accident just days out from a proposed bout in Philadelphia led to him suffering a broken hand.
Coach Moore is now eagerly looking forward to seeing Frampton back in business and placing himself on track for another world title shot in 2020.
"I've been very pleased with what I've seen from Carl in the gym and I believe that the Warrington fight has actually made him a better fighter," said Moore.
"Carl took a lot of lessons from that and I took lessons as well. Neither me nor Carl thought that Josh could hurt Carl so it was a real shock when it happened in the early rounds.
"We hadn't seen anything that suggested he could, though maybe I underestimated the damage he was doing to Lee Selby when he won the world title - most people just focused on Selby's battle to make the weight.
"It was a new experience for Carl and it put him off his tactics that we had for the fight. So it was a tough lesson and I believe you will see a more disciplined fighter and even smarter fighter. There are certain things we have been working on in the gym and I think people will be impressed when they see it in the fight.
"One thing that has always been there is Carl's character and that shone through in the fight with Warrington because not many fighters could have come through those horrendous opening rounds to then win rounds and get to the finish despite having so much taken out of him early on.
"So having been through that experience I firmly believe that Carl is now in a better position to go and become a world champion once again.
"He has to deal with Tyler McCreary first and a good win here will then open a lot of options and, who knows, maybe down the line there will be the chance of a re-match with Warrington. I know it's a fight that Frank Warren would like to do and Carl and I would welcome it."
Moore has been particularly pleased with the way Frampton has been sparring with world class super-bantamweight Stephen Fulton - a fighter the 32-year-old Belfast man has worked with before.
"Fulton has been brilliant for Carl. He's a super boxer and ideal preparation for this fight with McCreary who's a tall guy who likes to use his boxing skills," added Moore.
"Fulton worked with Carl ahead of the Donaire fight and also for the one that didn't happen in the summer and he has actually said to us that this is the best he has seen Carl, so that's encouraging as well.
"I know because it's nearly a year since he was last in the ring that some might think Carl is not quite the same but I believe he will end those thoughts against McCreary.
"The good thing from my point of view is that the broken hand did not stop him maintaining a good fitness level after the cancelled fight in August and he has just built on the work we did leading up to that.
"I'm confident that we're going to see a top performance from Carl."
The bill, which is being screened by BT Sport, will also see former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez in his first bout at super-feather when he faces Andres Gutierrez, the Mexican who, at 24 hours notice, had to withdraw from a fight with Frampton in 2017 after falling in his hotel bathroom.