SSE Arena, Belfast, Ireland - Fighting for the first time on home ground in two years, former two-division world champion Carl Frampton (24-1, 14 KOs) won a very tough ten round unanimous decision over Horacio Garcia (33-4-1, 24 KOs). The scores were 98-93, 97-93 and 96-93.
This was Frampton's first bout with new trainer Jamie Moore, new promoter Frank Warren, and new management, MTK.
It was also Frampton's first bout since January, when he suffered the first defeat of his career with a close points loss in his rematch with Leo Santa Cruz at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Frampton looked sharp in the first round with no signs of ring rust. He started fast, he was accurate with his punches and much faster than Garcia.
In the second, Frampton was really working over Garcia with sharp punches and making him miss most of his counters returning back. None of the shots were really hurting Garcia, but they were certainly getting his attention.
Frampton was still landing the bulk of his arsenal in the third. Garcia was just unable to get off his punches on the much faster Frampton. The one punch that Garcia was able to land here and there, was a solid hook to the body. In the fourth, Garcia was really letting his hands go, applying pressure and trying to force Frampton into a brawl. Frampton landed several solid counters, but also allowed himself to get outworked for most of the three minutes.
Several solid shot landed for Frampton at the start of the fifth. They were trading shots for most of the round on the inside. A small cut opened up around the right eye of Frampton. Garcia continued to press and make things close in the sixth as they traded punches.
In the seventh, Garcia grazed Frampton with a hook, and the Belfast fighter slipped and went down. The referee called it a knockdown as Frampton argued that it was a slip. During the eight, Frampton continued to trade away with Garcia at close range and he was also landing shots from range. Frampton was tiring a bit as Garcia was trying to wear him out with a tough pace.
Garcia with a solid rally on shots in the ninth, when he pressed Frampton against the ropes and let his punches fly. Frampton still appeared to be winded from the pace and was doing his best to hang in there with his superior boxing ability.
During the tenth, Frampton started off by slowing the pace and moving around. Garcia was pressing forward, looking to avoid a decision as they were trading hard punches with the crowd on their feet. Frampton was landing the flashier shots, but Garcia was giving as good as he was getting.