It’s been more than a year since Carl Frampton has enjoyed the thrill of victory, yet remains the most sought after challenger in two weight classes.
The former two-division titlist from Northern Ireland is ready to test the junior lightweight waters, though not quite going full throttle. A Nov. 30 showdown with unbeaten Tyler McCreary (16-0-1, 7KOs) will take place at a 128-pound catchweight, streaming live on ESPN+ from The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada. A win will put the winner in prime position to land a title shot at the weight of his choosing, whether featherweight or junior lightweight, as promotional outfit Top Rank is armed with talent at both weights.
“I like the idea of fighting at this weight,” Frampton (26-2, 15KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “I can still make 126, and am also looking to fight for a title at 130. My opponent, Tyler McCreary said he could make 128 so we agreed to fight at this weight.”
It will mark the heaviest contracted weight that Frampton has fought, never hitting the scales at any more than 127 pounds for any fight in his stellar 10+ year career. Following a competitive but clear decision defeat to unbeaten featherweight titlist Josh Warrington last December, the 32-year old star attraction from Belfast took a long hard look at his career before deciding the next step.
The moment he announced his signing with Top Rank, the floodgates opened to a sea of reigning titlists and top contenders hoping to get in on the action—not just on name value alone, but also the long-standing reputation as a fierce ring warrior who takes on all comers.
“It’s nice to have that reputation,” acknowledges Frampton. “A lot of the champions have mentioned my name, but right now I’m just taking my career one fight at a time. I know what’s waiting out there, but I'm not overlooking Tyler McCreary.
“At the same time, I’m doing everything in training camp to win and am very confident in my abilities. When I beat him, I will be ready for any of the champions in 2020. My goal is to become a three-division world champion.”
One major option that has already appeared on the radar is a St. Patrick’s Day 2020 showdown with reigning junior lightweight titlist Jamel Herring (21-2, 10KOs), who is fresh off his first title defense earlier this month. The 34-year old southpaw originally hails from the Coram section of Long Island, New York, his roots making for a perfect headlining act on New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden grounds—whether in the main room or downstairs in the Hulu Theater.
“Obviously with the focus on Nov. 30 and getting the win, absolutely, fighting a Jamel Herring would make a lot of sense in New York,” acknowledges Frampton, oddly in a situation where he could pull the crowd from the regionally-bred boxer. “I had a lot of fans turn out for when I beat Leo Santa Cruz in Brooklyn (July 2016 to win the featherweight title and ultimately Fighter of the Year), the hope is to retain those fans and bring in new ones, especially on St. Patrick’s Day.
“First we have to win this fight. I’m flattered that Jamel Herring said the things he said, that I’m willing to fight anyone. So after Nov. 30, we will see how it feels (at the heavier weight) and—God willing we win and leave healthy—begin looking at the next one, ideally for another world title.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox