By Elliot Foster
Frank Warren is determined to build on a stellar 2017 by pushing on even further in the New Year.
The Hall of Fame promoter was speaking to the media on Thursday at a homecoming press conference for Billy Joe Saunders.
Saunders, 28, retained his WBO middleweight world title against David Lemieux last weekend at the Place Bell in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, producing a masterclass to outpoint the Canadian in his own back yard, exclusively live on BT Sport in the UK and on HBO in the States.
And although Saunders was the main attraction, alongside Dominic Ingle, his trainer, at London’s Landmark Hotel, Warren didn’t just focus on whether Saunders would be in against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin next.
Warren revealed to the press that Carl Frampton will return to the ring on April 7 in Belfast, with Boxing Scene under the impression that the SSE Arena, where the Ulsterman outpointed Horacio Garcia back in November, the likely venue.
Frampton, according to Warren, will take on former WBO world super-bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, with further details for the mouthwatering showdown expected in due course.
The Filipino puncher has won world titles at flyweight, bantamweight, super-bantamweight and featherweight, and was once seen as the heir to Manny Pacquiao's throne as their country's biggest boxing star.
But Frampton will hope to come through the fight and set up a clash with the winner of Lee Selby’s IBF featherweight title mandatory defence against Josh Warrington.
Warren said that Selby against Warrington is a done deal and will take place in Leeds, with more details in due course, while he also said that Terry Flanagan will fight Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO super-lightweight title in the UK and that negotiations are underway for Liam Smith’s mandatory challenge for Sadam Ali’s WBO world super-welterweight crown.