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Carl Frampton clarifies ‘interim’ World Title confusion

Carl Frampton [24(14)-1(0)] has always been clear on what constitutes a World champion and he won’t bend his logic to suit himself.

‘The Jackal’ always questioned the validity of Scott Quigg’s WBA super bantamweight world title claims after the Bury man first became an interim champ by beating Rendall Munroe before being upgraded to ‘regular’ champion – whilst Guillermo Rigondeaux held the recognised WBA ‘super’ belt. This was the case until right before the Frampton-Quigg pay-per-view showdown when the Cuban was downgraded to ‘champion in recess’ and the super belt was put on the line alongside Frampton’s IBF 122lbs title.

The Belfast fighter was keen to declare you should win a title in the ring and never recognised ‘interim’ or ‘regular’ title holders as champions of the World.

The fact the WBO interim featherweight world strap will now be on the line when Frampton faces fellow former Fighter of the Year Nonito Donaire on April 21st hasn’t forced the 31-year-old to change his tune.

With reigning WBO champ Oscar Valdez out injured most likely until next year would allow some to suggest as holder of the aforementioned title Frampton would be the main active man at the weight class in the WBO’s governing body.

However, Frampton – whose status, legacy, and even earning potential could have been boosted by World champion claims – is staying true to himself and the core values of boxing by revealing he won’t deem himself a legitimate World champ if he overcomes future Hall of Famer Donaire at the SSE Odyssey Arena next month.

“Just to be clear, I’m not going to call myself World champion after this fight,” he declared in his weekly Sunday Life column.

“Oscar Valdez is champion but there have been times in the past when the champion is out for long periods and the interim champion has been upgraded to world champion.

“The way I see this fight between myself and Donaire is that it is now a final eliminator for a shot at Valdez who will have to face the winner of our next fight rather than being able to have a voluntary defence in between.”

Indeed, Frampton’s new promoter Frank Warren had hoped to make the fight a final eliminator before Valdez’s injury to give the Tiger’s Bay man more options on an exciting featherweight scene.

Frampton was initially fancied to face the winner of Lee Selby’s IBF title defence versus Josh Warrington in Windsor Park this August, but it seems he is now following a WBO path to what would, eventually, prove a very exciting match-up.

However, due to Valdez’s broken jaw suffered against Scott Quigg earlier this month, a WBO interim belt may dictate that a ‘defence’ will instead play out in the football stadium this Summer – unless the WBO allow Frampton a challenge for the IBF strap and thus potentially set up a unification in 2019.

Frampton himself seems more keen on a Valdez clash, pointing out it could solidify his status as a global featherweight star.

“It’s another option for me because I know if I beat Donaire I have the option of facing the winner of the IBF title fight between Lee Selby and Josh Warrington. But the Valdez fight would be much bigger, it would create worldwide interest and it’s one of the most exciting fights in the featherweight division.”


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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