Matthew Macklin is keen to see Carl Frampton back in the ring next spring, while the MTK Global fight manager believes Jamie Conlan will bounce back from his world-title disappointment.
Two-weight world champion Frampton returned to winning ways at Belfast’s SSE Odyssey Arena last Saturday night, claiming a 10-round unanimous points victory over Mexican Horacio Garcia following their featherweight battle.
‘The Jackal’ topped an action-packed ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight bill, which featured 11 MTK Global fighters, as the headliner fought in his hometown for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
The bout also marked Frampton’s ring return following his first professional defeat to Leo Santa Cruz last January as he competed with the backing of promoter Frank Warren and advisors MTK following his split from former mentor Barry McGuigan.
While the 30-year-old (now 24-1 as a pro) was awarded the decision on all three cards – 98-93, 97-93, 96-93 – he was made to work for his victory as 27-year-old Garcia (33-4-1) provided a competitive challenge.
The Guadalajara native had Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez at ringside to support him and he briefly silenced the Belfast crowd when putting Frampton on the canvas in the seventh round.
It had appeared that Frampton may have slipped on that visit to the floor, but referee Victor Loughlin ruled it a knockdown.
‘The Jackal’ started in lively fashion and looked back to his best early on in the bout before his willingness to trade and a touch of ring rust hampered his efforts.
But Macklin believes it was a welcome test for Frampton after 10 months out of the ring and he hopes to see ‘The Jackal’ back in action in Belfast next spring.
“Carl looked fantastic for the first three rounds,” said Macklin. “He definitely didn't look like a guy who's been out of the ring for nearly a year, but he probably traded a bit too much at times. It was still a good fight to get back into it though."
“I’d like to see him back out in March or April - get a good win and then he’ll be all set for a world-title fight at Windsor Park in the summer.”
In the meantime, ‘The Jackal’ is looking forward to a Christmas break.
“I’m moving house and I’m hoping to be in before Christmas, so we are going to be pretty busy,” said Frampton. “I’ll just chill out with the kids and enjoy it.”
Earlier on the ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight bill, Jamie Conlan’s title ambitions were derailed as he suffered a heartbreaking stoppage loss against classy Filipino IBF world super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas.
The champion put Conlan down four times and while the brave 31-year-old managed to return to his feet after every knockdown, referee Steve Gray called a halt after 52 seconds of the sixth round.
“It’s devastating for Jamie,” said Macklin, who lost three world middleweight title challenges during his own fight career. “He’s someone who really deserves a world title, but the sport can be cruel and he came up against a top-class operator tonight."
“I know the feeling, I've been there and I really feel for him, but he’ll take a bit of time off and MTK will be behind him all the way.”
Otherwise, it was a good night for MTK Global as 10 of their fighters emerged victorious with Paddy Barnes and Jono Carroll both picking up IBF inter-continental titles.
Belfast natives Tommy McCarthy, Marco McCullough, Steven Ward and Lewis Crocker recorded wins, while Pete Taylor-trained duo David Oliver Joyce and Gary Cully remain undefeated following their respective victories and Liverpool heavyweight Alex Dickinson boosted his record to 3-0.
“Paddy and Jono had great wins and the rest of the lads on the undercard had a good night and a few impressive wins,” said Macklin. “We’ll be back in Belfast in March or April and we’ll keep all the lads busy in the meantime.”