After disposing of four weight world champion Nonito Donaire via a unanimous point’s decision, Carl Frampton confirmed that his next fight is going to be on the 18th of August at Belfast’s Windsor Park.
With a capacity that can be extended to 22,000, Frampton is going to treat his loyal fans, some of whom have previously travelled to the USA twice in six months, to a fight at Northern Ireland’s national stadium.
However, despite a date and a venue being confirmed, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious opponent for Frampton to face in August, who ideally would like to face one of the division’s current world champions to help increase the stature of the fight. Frampton has been quoted as saying ‘We need to get an opponent soon and it needs to be a big name’. However, this is proving to be more difficult than some may think.
The status of the current world champions in the Featherweight division
Leo Santa Cruz/Abner Mares (WBA) - Fighting each other on the 9th of June for the WBA super title. Santa Cruz is the strong favourite in this fight after defeating Mares via a majority decision almost three years ago. A trilogy between Santa Cruz and Frampton is a possibility in the future, with the third fight most likely to be in the US again as Santa Cruz has refused to come to Belfast in the past.
Gary Russell Jnr (WBC) – Russell Jnr has consistently only fought one fight per year for a while now (last fight was May this year) and hasn’t fought outside of the US so is unlikely to be fighting Frampton in Belfast in August. However, with an impressive CV this is a fight that many would like to see happen in 2019, potentially in a unification clash.
Josh Warrington (IBF) – Soundly defeated Lee Selby against all the odds recently at Elland Road. Is unlikely to be ready for August and it’s hard to see him going up against Frampton so soon after winning his first world title. However, in a fight that would fill a stadium whether it be Elland road or Windsor Park, Frampton V Warrington is definitely a fight that could happen in 2019.
Oscar Valdez (WBO) – Had a tough fight against Scott Quigg earlier this year and paid the price for it, suffering a broken jaw in the 5th round. Despite coming out victorious, Valdez may not fight again this year, ruling him out of a showdown against Frampton in August. In what many believe would be a great fight, Valdez may be forced to face Frampton at some point due to Frampton’s current ranking with the WBO.
So as all of the world champions within the division are ruled out, unless Frampton wants to change the August 18th date, he may have to accept that fighting for a world title at Windsor Park may have to wait until next year.
Other British Options
Frampton does have other highly ranked British fighters in the division that he could get both attention for facing whilst he waits for one of the world champions to be ready:
Scott Quigg – One fighter that would be ready to fight on August 18th is Scott Quigg. After losing valiantly to Oscar Valdez in March, Quigg has stated his desire to face Frampton in a rematch, two and a half years on from the first fight.
In an anti-climactic fight that many agree Frampton clearly won, there may be few that get excited about the rematch including Frampton which could make the fight harder to make.
Kid Galahad – 24-0 with his last 6 fights ending via stoppage, Kid Galahad is another fighter that has been calling Frampton out for a while now, and some say that he deserves a shot against a top fighter. Kid Galahad is also ranked highly with the WBC & the IBF and isn’t the novice that he once was so may be worth fighting more than some think considering that Frampton has a lack of other options.
Jamie McDonnell – After suffering a crushing 1st round defeat against Naoya Inoue last month, Jamie Mcdonnell’s trainer Dave Coldwell has confirmed that the former world champion will finally be moving up in weight, most likely to Featherweight rather than Super Bantanweight, throwing the Doncaster based fighter in another exciting division.
Whether McDonnell would go straight into a fight against the Northern Irishman is another question but for somebody who has gone to the US to fight Tomoki Kameda twice (and won both times) as well as to Tokyo to fight a dangerous fighter in Naoya Inoue, it would be foolish to rule McDonnell out of the reckoning for August 18th.
As the fight is now only two and a half months away and as we’ve identified, it’s going to be very difficult for Frampton to face one of the world champions of the division.
Due to the date & venue being booked, it’s hard to see Frampton and his team being interested in delaying the date to accommodate another fighter.
However, chances are that Frampton won’t have the mega-fight that he was hoping for and may struggle to bring a name to Windsor Park that he’s going to get a lot of credit for let alone an opponent that has a world title.