As expected, Australian featherweight Luke Jackson [16(7)-0] will be the opponent for Frampton’s dream night.
A managerial stablemate of Frampton [25(14)-1(0)], Jackson had been put forward by adviser Mike Altamura last month. Last weekend Irish boxing writer Kevin Byrne reported that the Tasmanian would indeed be the opponent – however Frampton’s promoter Frank Warren would later claim that they were in discussions with a number of opponents and that nothing had been confirmed yet.
All the while, 33-year-old Jackson has been hinting at a big announcement on his social media channels and tonight confirmed that he is in Belfast.
I’ve arrived in Belfast 🇮🇪🇦🇺
Nice run to stay fresh after a long flight 👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/rULBSPkO8a
— Luke Jackson (@LukeJackson) June 17, 2018
A press conference takes place tomorrow at Windsor Park and, assuming he isn’t coincidentally in Belfast for a holiday, Jackson will be officially confirmed as Frampton’s August 18th opponent.
Jackson is ranked #5 with the WBO at featherweight, with Frampton holding the organisation’s interim title which he won in April versus Filipino legend Nonito Donaire.
‘Action’ Jackson currently holds the WBO Oriental title but the 2012 Olympian has never fought at a high level professionally. His career-best is a competitive ten-round win over Humberto de Santiago – the Mexican blasted out in three rounds by Dublin super feather Jono Carroll back in November.
The past week has seen heavy criticism of Jackson as the choice of opponent – although a number of well-informed fighters have stated their belief that he will provide Frampton with a stern test.
With all four champions ruled out due to scheduling and injury – as well as a super featherweight move blocked off and an unwillingness to work with Matchroom – Jackson was one of very few available foes. While WBO-ranked fighters Mark Magsayo, Genasis Servania, and Miguel Marriaga all would appear to be superior foes, the managerial links of Jackson and his ability to speak English may have swung the decision in his favour.
The bout is expected to be a defence of Frampton’s WBO interim title – although Jackson tonight retweeted, most likely out of hope rather than confirmation, a tweet suggesting that injured champion Óscar Valdez will be stripped of his belt, thus facilitating a world title bout at Windsor Park.
Oscar Valdez will be stripped, frampton vs Jackson for the vacant WBO at Windsor Park… CMON THE JACKAL https://t.co/0ZkLLHDE1b
— C a l l u m👤 (@callumwilson15) June 17, 2018
Former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and flyweight contender Paddy Barnes have both also been confirmed for the card and fight details for the pair are also due to be revealed tomorrow. Fury is expected to face another soft opponent as he continues his comeback from a tumultuous two-and-a-half years while Barnes is in line for a major fight, with talk of a world title challenge on the bill.