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Selby-Warrington press conference raises doubts over Frampton fight at Windsor

Carl Frampton will be ringside at Elland Road for the big Lee Selby v Josh Warrington IBF featherweight title fight but what’s next for ‘The Jackal’ is far from certain.

Indeed, the Irish fighter will be cheering loudly for Selby to defend his title in dominant fashion if today’s final press conference is anything to go by.

Frampton, the current holder of the WBO interim belt will fight at his beloved Windsor Park on Saturday August 18th and the prevailing narrative for months has been that he will face the winner of this Saturday night’s clash in Leeds.

However, the validity of this plan has been questioned due to the timeframe, and today’s event served only to raise more doubts.

While Warrington and, especially, Selby both stated their willingness to come to Belfast in three months time, the comments of Frank Warren, promoter of all three, were extremely non-committal to a plan which seemed to be a sure-thing mere months ago.

Warren, who is actively pushing for a Warrington win at the football stadium this weekend, said that a Frampton fight “is there to be made, for the winner to get that fight. It’s the fight everyone wants to see.”

The veteran London promoter has previously stated that his newest and preferred plan was for Warrington and Frampton to unify in 2019.

These comments came when it was rumoured that WBO champion Oscar Valdez would move up in weight and allow Frampton to be upgraded to full champion – something which has been dismissed by Top Rank boss Arum

Warren still envisions a unification fight – perhaps a slip of the tongue referencing Frampton’s interim trinket or maybe indicating that Frampton will first go for Valdez’s WBO title, with an interim title defence at Windsor in the meantime.

The Queensberry boss outlined how Selby/Warrington v Frampton “would be a unification fight – where it takes place, we don’t know yet.”

“Let’s get this one out of the way first. There’s a great series of fights there.”

Perhaps most worryingly was Warren’s mention of a rematch – especially considering the skilled boxer versus relentless workhorse nature of the match-up which has many predicting that Selby will build an unassailable lead before a strong Warrington finish.

Warren noted how “you don’t know how this one’s going to play out, this could be a very close fight – there may be a return, there may be a trilogy, who knows?”

For what it’s worth, Warrington claimed he is open to a Frampton fight, vaguely saying ‘in the future’ at first before stating, when asked, that he would be game for August 18th.

The undefeated former European champion said that “obviously, for me, it’s about taking each fight as it comes but it’s nice to have an idea of where you want to go in your career.”

“Potentially down the road, yeah, a big fight with Carl. I only saw him last week and I said the same thing to him. I said ‘when I get through this one on Saturday, I’d like to potentially get a fight with you in the future’.”

“I’d like to take the boys and the girls on a little away day. We had a great time when we went to Berlin a few years ago and I think 10,000-odd Leeds fans in Belfast would be a good day out.”

Welshman Selby, who was in talks for a Windsor date with Frampton last year, was more definite and seems extremely keen and serious about doing two big stadium fights in 12 weeks.

The reigning champion outlined that “if I come through Saturday night okay, that will be the fight I want to go straight into next. He’s got a date in August and I’d like to go straight into that.”

“I’ve boxed there [Belfast] before and it was a great experience. It was a packed out arena and I relished it.”

Should Selby not be able to make August 18th – his fight with the supremely conditioned Warrington could well be a bruising affair – Frampton has already hinted a other options.

It has been suggested that the Belfast 31-year-old could move up to super featherweight to contest either of the vacant IBF or WBO belts, while the man himself has recently raised the possibility of going the WBC route.


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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