Upcoming Carl Frampton opponent is a former sparring partner of The Jackal

Carl Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] makes his return to the ring next month in Belfast against Horacio Garcia.

However, Saturday November 18th at the SSE Odyssey Arena won’t be the first time that Frampton will have stepped through the ropes with Garcia and traded leather.

Tapatío Garcia was actually part of Frampton’s camp for the Belfast man’s first world title defence – however this information has not been publicised ahead of the ‘Frampton Reborn.’

Back at the start of 2015 Garcia was brought to London for Frampton’s fight camp in preparation for the fight with Chris Avalos – incidentally the last time ‘The Jackal’ fought at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

Garcia was one of three main sparring partners brought in – alongside French lightweight Yvan Mendy and Mexican super featherweight Miguel Angel Gonzáles. At this stage of proceedings, McGuigan’s Gym in Battersea also featured Belfast super feather Anto Cacace.

Back then Garcia was an unbeaten super bantamweight ranked in the WBC Top 15 and holding the WBC Continental Americas title. Since then he has lost to former three-weight champ Hozumi Hasegawa, rising star JoJo Diaz, and traded victories with journeyman Diuhl Olguin. He has also claimed good wins over world rated fighters in Fernando Vargas and Josue Veraza.

Back before the Avalos fight, Frampton’s former manager Barry McGuigan was complimentary of Garcia, telling The Guardian that “this guy is serious. 28 fights, 28 wins, 22 KOs.”

A couple of months later though McGuigan revealed that Cyclone prospect Josh Pritchard, who was awaiting his pro debut at the time, had dominated Garcia.

The Clones Cyclone told The Portsmouth News that “the reality is Josh was getting the better of Horatio Garcia every single day. This guy is number eight in the world with the WBC. He’s knocked out 22 of his opponents.”

“Horatio didn’t win one round with him. Josh dominated every spar across three weeks he worked with him.”

The fight next month will be Frampton’s first under his new team. The 30 year old Ulsterman split with the McGuigans during the Summer and has linked up with trainer Jamie Moore, management outfit Mack The Knife Global, and promoter Frank Warren.

The choice of Garcia as an opponent has been criticised by some, but Frampton would defend the selection of the Mexican over the weekend.

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