Should this boxer be Carl Frampton’s next opponent?

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With attention now turning to who’s next for Carl Frampton, an option from surprisingly close to home has emerged.

The promoter of former WBA featherweight champion Simphiwe Vetyeka – Cork man Gary Hyde – has thrown his fighter’s name into the ring.

South African Vetyeka [29(17)-3(0)] held the belt which is now in the possession of Frampton between December 2013 and May 2014.

V12 defeated 51-fight unbeaten Indonesian star Chris John to win the belt, sending the Asian boxer into retirement with a sixth round stoppage win in Australia.

In his first defence in Macau, Vetyeka lost a scrappy fight against Nonito Donaire which went to the scorecards in the fifth round due to a cut sustained by the Filipino star from an accidental headbutt. Donaire promised a rematch in the aftermath however elected to fight Nicholas Walters instead.

In the meantime, Vetyeka has rattled off three wins in his native South Africa before joining forces with Nowhere2Hyde in June.

The 35 year old is ranked #4 by the WBA and, on a potential Frampton-Vetyeka match up, Hyde tweeted the following:

If one factors in Frampton’s desire to fight in Belfast this December – and that Selby and Santa Cruz are fights more suited to an outdoor arena in Summer – then Vetyeka seems to be the perfect choice of opponent.

Looking at the WBA rankings, Vetyeka and Abner Mares are the only former World champions on the ladder – fitting Frampton’s description of only wanting big fights – with the remainder of the Top 15 being mainly unknown and unproven at the top level.

While Mares is perhaps better known, his future looks somewhat in doubt due to an eye injury.

All things considered, Simphiwe Vetyeka is the best choice of opponent for Carl Frampton’s next fight.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie