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Frank Warren cools talk of Frampton v Selby-Warrington winner

Frank Warren has attepted to cool talk of a seemingly certain route of progression for Carl Frampton.

The Belfast featherweight, who linked up with Warren last year after leaving the McGuigans, fights Filipino four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire next month at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

The April 21st clash had been described as an effective world title eliminator for the IBF belt currently held by Lee Selby. The Welshman defends the red strap at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on May 19th against Frampton’s Queensberry stablemate Josh Warrington.

It had been continually put forward that the winner of this all-British fight would then go on to defend the belt in the Summer versus Frampton should ‘The Jackal’ defeat Donaire. Windsor Park, which Warren has claimed he has already booked, was the much-mentioned venue.

Some raised questions about the ability of Warrington or Selby to be ready for an August fight date and noted that the fight may not be as nailed-down as believed.

Now Warren himself has come out today with the dreaded ‘O’ word – options.

The veteran promoter said that “I am aware that everyone assumes the winner out of Selby and Warrington is nailed on to travel to Belfast this summer to take on a hopefully triumphant Frampton after his date with Donaire but, I’ve got to be honest, we’ve got a completely open mind over everything.”

“All we do know for sure is that we want Carl to be fighting for a world title at Windsor Park, so we have options in this respect because a fight with any of the world champions would make for a fantastic occasion.”

“For his part, Carl just wants to fight the best and even picked tough opponents for his comeback fights, having previously been out of the ring for a while. He didn’t want any routine tune-ups and has jumped right back in at the deep end.”

In terms of a world title opponent for Frampton at Windsor Park – should the IBF belt be unavailable – he may be left in limbo.

Aside from his refusal to travel to Belfast, WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz is set to defend his belt in June versus Abner Mares and is out of the question in terms of a Windsor opponent.

There are doubts too over Oscar Valdez. The WBO champ defeated former Frampton foe Scott Quigg in California at the weekend, but suffered a broken jaw in the process and could be set for a spell on the sidelines. A WBO interim title fight could perhaps be an option – however, most boxing fans would lament the creation of another title.

Finally, there is the WBC belt, currently held by the painfully inactive Gary Russell Jr. This route though is also closed off as the American faces a mandatory defence against JoJo Diaz. This hasn’t been confirmed yet, most likely placing it in the Summer and ruling the green belt out as a possibility for Frampton.

With the above in mind, it certainly seems possible that Carl Frampton may not fight for a world title at Windsor Park this Summer. While Warren has today looked to reign in talk of Frampton v Selby/Warrington, this bout looks like the only route and Irish fans will perhaps be hoping for a decisive, early win one way or the other on May 19th to ensure a quick return for the victor.


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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