Carl Frampton is set to return to action later this month for the first time since his defeat to Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas when he faces Andres Gutierrez in Belfast. The Northern Irishman lost his WBA (Super) featherweight title in that rematch with the Mexican on a majority decision in what brought up the opening loss of his 23-fight professional career. All eyes will be on the 30-year-old to see what his response will be on his homecoming in Belfast. It has been two years and five months since he last fought in his city, the last time being his victory over Chris Avalos where he defended his IBF title with a fifth-round stoppage. Frampton has already hinted this could be his Belfast farewell as he approaches the back end of his career.
Who is Andres Gutierrez?
Despite being six years younger than Frampton, Gutierrez travels to Belfast with plenty of experience under his belt in the professional ranks. He has already had 37 professional boxing fights in his career, 35 of which have been wins, with one loss and a draw on his record. Some 25 of the Mexican’s victories have come by stoppage; he is a big hitter at this weight. In his last fight against Wallington Orobio, he stopped his opponent in the sixth round. His sole defeat came against Cristian Mijares when the pair fought for the vacant WBC Silver featherweight title last June.
What is on the Horizon for Frampton?
The bout against Gutierrez is a WBC world featherweight title eliminator which gives us a clue about what road Frampton’s team are taking with their man this year. Success against the Mexican would set up a clash with Gary Russell Jr. The American has just the one defeat on his record, which came against Vasyl Lomachenko. He won his world title against Jhonny Gonzalez in March 2015 and since then has defended that belt on two occasions. Many boxing pundits were expecting Frampton to meet Santa Cruz in a trilogy bout this summer after their last two fights were hugely exciting for boxing fans. If the Belfast man gets through his next fight, he could still look to step up another meeting with the WBA champion; however, that may now have to wait until 2018 as Santa Cruz is set to meet his Mexican patriot Abner Mares for his title in Los Angeles in October. Another option for Frampton is a fight with Lee Selby, who has been calling him out for a while.
In 2016, Frampton was named as the Fighter of the Year by Ring Magazine after he won two world titles at different weight divisions with victories coming over Scott Quigg and Santa Cruz. The 2017 calendar year obviously did not start well for the Belfast man; however, losing to Santa Cruz is nothing to be ashamed of as the Mexican is also ranked as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet. If Frampton is sensible, he should be able to pick off the Mexican in the middle rounds so it would be no surprise to see him stop the fight inside the seventh round. As of 10th July, Frampton is the 1/25 favourite with bookies to win this fight, but if you fancy Gutierrez to cause a surprise, he can be backed at 10/1. The fight in Belfast against Gutierrez is the perfect opportunity for Frampton to shine again in front of his home crowd. His opponent likes fighting in the centre of the ring and will be coming to Northern Ireland to have a battle.
How Can I Watch the Fight?
Frampton’s fight with Gutierrez will be screened on terrestrial television as Channel 5 won the rights for the fight. It won’t be the first time that the former two-weight champion has appeared on the channel where two million people are expected to tune in for his latest fight. Channel 5 recently showed Josh Taylor’s victory over Ohara Davies and have also featured Cyclone boxer Conrad Cummings in their boxing offering in 2017. The undercard in Belfast is also expected to feature Cummings, Chantelle Cameron, Lewis Crocker, Padraig McCroy and Steven Ward.