Carl Frampton says he hopes his world title fight with Jamel Herring will end up on the same bill as Tyson Fury’s third fight with Deontay Wilder.
Frampton was supposed to challenge Herring for the WBO super featherweight title in his native Belfast in June, which was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. But he still has hopes that it can happen this year.
Frampton returns to action at York Hall in London on Saturday, when he faces late substitute Darren Traynor, while Herring faces Jonathan Oquendo in Las Vegas on September 5, a fight that has twice been postponed because Herring tested positive for COVID-19.
A hometown fight with Herring would have been ideal for Frampton, who will be aiming to become Ireland’s first three-weight world champion, but he is happy for the fight to take place anywhere.
“My ideal would have been Windsor Park in the summer,” Frampton said. “This winter it would have to be New York - MSG. He is a New Yorker and I could bring a lot of fans, if allowed. Irish Americans on the East Coast would come out.
“The Wilder vs Fury undercard in December is also very appealing. I haven't been offered that, but it is a good idea.”
Frampton is all too aware that with coronavirus numbers in America still at a high level, there are few guarantees right now.
“The date for the Herring fight was done, it was June 13, and then the pandemic happened,” he said. “I still think it will happen. I don't know where or when.
“Six weeks ago I would have said America in front of a crowd and now I am not so sure. It could go behind closed doors and that would be a shame but if it has to be done, then I will do it.”
Having seen his own share of fights called off at short notice, Frampton said he felt sorry for Herring twice seeing his fight with Oquendo pulled.
“I just sent him a message,” Frampton said. “I felt sorry for him, obviously. I know what it is like to miss out on fights so close. So unlucky, COVID twice, I thought you could only get it once.
“I felt bad for him. But he has a date in September now. Hopefully, he comes through that unscathed and we can fight then. Before the end of the year would be ideal.”
Traynor came in at a week’s notice after original opponent Vahram Vardanyan failed to get a visa. Because of the late change, the fight is now made at lightweight, the highest Frampton has ever boxed.
“It meant an easier fight week than it would have been before,” said Frampton, who says he is not taking the Scot lightly.
“He is a better opponent than the original guy was. And he is brave and there is no pressure on him. It’s an absolute win-win for him.”
The fight is Frampton’s first since having operations on both hands in December, which meant that he had to spent Christmas unable to use either hand as both were heavily bandaged. It made for a memorable, if rather awkward, festive period.
“It was a disaster, I had my hands bandaged for a week,” he said. “Absolute disaster, as you can imagine. I couldn’t drink or anything, although I’m not a drinker anymore anyway.
“Wiping my arse was the big issue. Luckily, I didn’t have to do it before they got them off. The painkillers they gave me had me completely constipated, so I went eight days without a sh-te.
“But the hands are good now. They look sh-t, but they are all right, they feel good.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.