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Carl Frampton suggests opponents for Mick Conlan ahead of homecoming

Like most in the Irish boxing family, Carl Frampton believes that Mick Conlan [6(5)-0] is the man to take over from him when it comes to packing out the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

31-year-old Frampton [25(14)-1(0)] is at the tail-end of his career looking to participate in his final few mega-fights – with a dream Windsor Park date set for this August.

On June 30th his fellow Belfast featherweight Conlan will have his long-awaited homecoming at the Odyssey – assuming his bout on the Linares-Lomachenko undercard on May 12th goes according to plan. The 26-year-old tops a Top Rank and Queensberry co-promotion at the arena and Frampton believes it will be the first of many.

The pair have become friends over the past year and Frampton is keen to see the former World amateur champion tested and has suggested opponents which could help build and develop the switch-hitting talent.

Earlier this month, Frampton noted how he felt Matchroom starlet Reece Bellotti [12(11)-0] would be a good opponent for Conlan to return home against.

Writing in his column for the Sunday Life, Frampton outlined how “for his homecoming, I’d like to see him [Conlan] in with someone like Reece Bellotti.”

“He’s the Commonwealth featherweight champion and I think that would be a perfect fight for Mick, which he would win easily – even after just seven fights.”

‘The Jackal’, however, is thinking past June 30th and hopes to see Conlan return to Belfast as soon as possible afterwards, preferably before 2018 is out.

Frampton, who defeated Nonito Donaire earlier this month, has another opponent in mind should a swift return come to pass – Kiko Martinez [38(28)-8(3)-1].

A frequent visitor to Irish shores ever since his demolition of Bernard Dunne, Martinez was stopped by Frampton in a European super bantamweight title fight before winning IBF title – which he later defended against the Tiger’s Bay man, being outpointed on the Titanic slipway.

Frampton, again writing in his Sunday Life column, described how “I think it’s brilliant for Belfast boxing that Michael Conlan is returning home to fight on June 30th at the SSE Arena and I’m sure that the public will get behind him in a big way.”

“I’m sure they’ll give him a good test and I’d like to see him back in Belfast pretty quickly after that because he could have an exciting fight with my old rival Kiko Martinez.”

“Kiko is fighting for the European featherweight title [v Marc Vidal] on May 19th, the same night Lee Selby and Josh Warrington face each other in Leeds for the IBF World title.”

“Kiko should win the European title and before the end of the year that would be a great fight for Mick.”


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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