By Terence Dooley
IBF super bantamweight titlist Carl Frampton, 19-0 (13), will defend his crown against mandatory challenger Chris Avalos, 25-2 (19), at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on February 28th. The date and ticket information was confirmed earlier today by Leonard Gunning of www.Boxing-Ireland.com .
Frampton won the title by decisioning Kiko Martinez in Belfast's Titanic Quarter in September. The popular 27-year-old attracted 16,000 fans to the Martinez fight, which was shown live on BoxNation, and he will easily sell out the 11,000 capacity Odyssey Arena.
The former Commonwealth and EBU champion should ease past his 25-year-old, California-based challenger—who beat Yasutaka Ishimoto in May (TKO 8) to secure his mandatory status—to keep the hopes of an all-British fight with WBA World titlist Scott Quigg alive.
The “'will they, won’t they' affair has intrigued and frustrated British fans in recent years, but there’s been little movement on the prospective clash of undefeated title-holders, although both boxers have said they want the fight.
However, the relationship between Barry McGuigan, Frampton’s friend and mentor, and Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, Quigg’s promoter, has been stormy in recent years. The fight looks a hard one to make as things stand, but as long as both men keep winning the demand for it will reach fever pitch and could help bring the respective parties to the negotiating table.
BoxingScene's sources have told us that the showdown with Avalos will also signal Frampton's return to Sky Sports, who televised his fights prior to his 2013 switch to BoxNation.
The deal with BoxNation expired after the world title win over Martinez, and it now appears that the victory over the Spaniard was Frampton's last on the channel, unless things change down the line. This opened the door for a return to Sky's boxing roster, although his career will continue to be guide by McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions.
Should the news prove to be correct, it means that “The Jackal” now shares a TV channel with Quigg—this is great news for British boxing fans as it could bring them a step closer to a huge domestic showdown.
Tickets for Frampton-Avalos are priced at £45, £75 & £125 (plus handling fee). They go on sale at 10am on Friday, December 19th.
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