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Frampton set to put frustrating year behind him on Vegas return

Carl Frampton will be aiming to get back to winning ways against Tyler McCreary on Saturday having been out of the ring since last December’s defeat to Josh Warrington in Manchester Carl Frampton will be aiming to get back to winning ways against Tyler McCreary on Saturday having been out of the ring since last December’s defeat to Josh Warrington in Manchester
By David Mohan

IT has been a frustrating year for Carl Frampton, but he will attempt to finish it on a high note when he tackles Tyler McCreary at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on Saturday night (approx 2am Sunday, live on BT Sport).

‘The Jackal’ had an extended break following his defeat to IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington in Manchester last December, but had planned to make his return against Emmanuel Dominguez in August.

When happened in his Philadelphia hotel just six days out has been well documented with a freak accident involving a pillar leaving him with a broken hand and therefore no fight, so it’s a case of take-two this week as he prepares to shake off the rust and set up another crack at world honours in 2020.

The good news is that victory on Saturday against the unbeaten American is likely to set-up a shot at WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring as the North Belfast man bids to become Irish boxing’s only three-weight champion.

Herring will be ringside on Saturday and has confirmed his desire to defend against ‘The Jackal’ in his hometown next so with that in mind, Saturday’s fight will take place at a catchweight of 128lbs between the featherweight and sup-feather limits.

“I’ve been critical of catchweights in the past, but there may be options that open up at the weight above or the weight below, so that’s the reason for it,” explained the 32 year-old.

“It’s not a title fight, but the landscape is changing in boxing all the time, so I’ll be able to move up or down after this fight depending on what opens up.”

That of course depends on the outcome of Saturday’s meeting with McCreary.

The 26 year-old from Ohio has amassed a professional record of 16-0-1 but has not been in with the caliber of opponent as Frampton who is a two-weight champion and former Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year.

While he will enter the ring as a huge underdog in what will be his first scheduled 10-rounder, this is also his big chance to burst into the world rankings and therefore can’t be underestimated.

McCreary is a slick boxer and operates off a stiff jab. He has good ring generalship and can keep he fight at range, inviting Frampton in and look to counter, but is perhaps a little one-paced and in his narrow points win over Jessie Rosales last time out, looked a little vulnerable when pressured.

Certainly, the American is there to be hit and while he will hold a height and reach advantage over Frampton, this is the style ‘The Jackal’ had been preparing for in his ill-fated August match-up.

“The two guys (Dominguez and McCreary) are a similar size,” he noted.

“Dominguez is 5’8 and this guy is 5’9 so a lot of the stuff we were working on for Dominguez will be suitable for this one too.
“He’s not a similar style, but in terms of height and dimensions. He’s one of these flashy Americans with that ‘Philly shell’ style, but as a man once said – they’re all the same size lying down.”

This is also a return to the city where Frampton suffered his first career loss when losing his WBA featherweight title in the rematch against Leo Santa Cruz back in January 2017.

At the time, the Belfast man was riding the crest of a wave having dethroned the Mexican in New York the previous July after unifying the super-bantamweight division against Scot Quigg in Manchester.

Around 5,000 fans made the long journey to Sin City for that eagerly-anticipated rematch of their ‘fight of the year’ at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and while the travelling support will be smaller this time, he is still grateful to those who are making the trip to the much more intimate environs of The Cosmopolitan.

“I was the champion going into that fight (Santa Cruz rematch); I was in The Ring magazine’s top-10 and coming off a fight-of-the-year,” he recalls.

“That was in the MGM – the big arena where everyone wants to fight and I was lucky enough to do it.

“This is a smaller venue in The Cosmopolitan and it’s still Las Vegas, a place I love. I love Belfast – there’s no place like it – but I love Vegas because it’s mental.

“I’m bringing a decent wee crowd out with me, a lot more than I was expecting.

“It’s a good venue for boxing and Top Rank (his promoters) run a lot of shows there and it’s a great bill with (Oscar) Valdez on against my old mate (Andres) Gutierrez.”

The presence of Gutierrez – the man who infamously slipped in the shower ahead of a fight with Frampton that forced its cancellation – is perhaps a twist of cruel irony given the events of this summer, but with his hand fully healed and the desire to return to the top, the only focus in on McCreary and victory this weekend.

Frampton will be keen to prove he still has plenty left following his defeat to Warrington last year and that he is capable of landing another title before hanging up the gloves for good.

His footwork – one of his biggest attributes but one he didn’t utilize in Manchester last December – will be important here and this is an area that has been worked on in the lead-up to this fight with trainer Jamie Moore.

Frampton may have to be patient early and perhaps force the issue to get inside McCreary’s jab and hooks to the body, but he has the variation to force mistakes and rough the American up.

It’s difficult to see anything other than a good win for ‘The Jackal’ in his first fight of a promotional deal with Top Rank that should lead to that title fight against Herring next year.

He will want to dazzle in the ‘City of Entertainment’ and prove he deserves his crack at a higher weight.

A stoppage win would be perfect, but a solid victory will also do and that is his first priority.

“Win first and foremost, but do it well and win in style then we will see what happens and what opens up,” he stressed.

“We’ll take it from there, but I just need to win and get back on track.”

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