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Carl Frampton

Windsor Park could be back in the mix if Herring plays waiting game

Carl Frampton


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Windsor Park during last Saturday’s boxing event involving Carl Frampton

Windsor Park during last Saturday’s boxing event involving Carl Frampton

Windsor Park during last Saturday’s boxing event involving Carl Frampton

WORLD super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring has said that he is ready to put our fight on hold and box somebody else whenever our sport is able to get going again and if that's the case then it could open the door to the bout happening in Belfast in 2021.

The comments from Herring came in an interview with ESPN and it's pretty obvious, given the current pandemic crisis, that it means the big showdown clash with me will not be able to take place until next year. It may be his thinking that he needs a fight before facing me but I want to make it clear that with a proper training camp behind me I would be more than willing to go straight in and face Herring.

But, if it means that I have to wait until next year, then I'm prepared to do that. I want that shot at making Irish boxing history by becoming the first fighter from this island to win world titles at three different weights so I can bide my time for the opportunity.

Some may say that I will be getting too old by that stage but it's worth pointing out that Herring is older than me - he turns 35 this December. He also hasn't fought since the start of November and clearly feels that if he can get a fight in before the end of the year then he'll grab it.

I understand that because all fighters are now looking at this situation and wondering where the next pay day is coming from and Herring is no different. So, when our promoter Bob Arum suggests that he may have to only put on American against American fights when boxing initially returns then it's no surprise that Herring wants to be close to the top of the queue so he can remain sharp and earn for his family.

I genuinely feel that I can keep ticking over and wait for the Herring fight and then have three months working hard in the gym, getting the right sparring and that will be enough for me to be ready to take him on. Everything is up in the air, that's clear to see, but if things do get back to some sort of normality by next year then the chance of a Belfast showdown with Herring is potentially back in the mix.

Fighting behind closed doors will probably not be that big a deal for many American fighters because there are very few who have a very big fan base - if you look at the scene in the States right now, it's hard to think of a stand-out American box-office attraction.

You probably have to go back to Oscar de la Hoya, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield for the last time there was a huge ticket-selling American star.

It's very different in the UK and I'm fortunate to have such great support who have backed me throughout my career and it means a lot to box in front of my supporters, so that's why I would prefer not to fight behind closed doors - but if I have to I will.

However, it is clearly possible that boxing in the UK will return in such a format and, who knows, it may be that we only have promotions featuring British fighters against British fighters in order to abide by safety restrictions.

I know the World Boxing Association met recently and have discussed a plan with help from the World Health Organisation about how, with the proper restrictions, the sport can kick off again.

I just hope that some pathway back to running shows is announced as soon as possible because I fear we are getting to the stage where some guys will just hang up their gloves for good because they know there just won't be the potential to earn from boxing.

The sport will not be the same when the green light does come, that is for sure.

Belfast Telegraph