Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will be cheering for a shock upset on Saturday night as the Mexican superstar will be ringside in Belfast to support fellow Guadalajara native Horacio Garcia against hometown hero Carl Frampton.
‘The Jackal’ tops a massive ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight bill this weekend in what will be his first home bout in over two-and-a-half years, live on BT Sport and BoxNation, at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
Garcia is a big underdog ahead of his 10-round featherweight bout against Belfast’s two-weight world champion, but he is set to have a famous fan behind him as Mexican sensation ‘Canelo’ will be at the Odyssey to support his Golden Boy Promotions stablemate.
Meanwhile, Frampton is looking forward to his ring return after suffering a first pro defeat to Mexican-American Leo Santa Cruz last January. ‘The Jackal’ fights for the first time since signing a promotional deal with Frank Warren and an advisory agreement with MTK Global.
And the 30-year-old Irishman is keen to ensure that his plans for a Windsor Park world-title showdown next summer are not derailed by the 27-year-old visitor or his superstar supporter.
“It’s great that ‘Canelo’ will be ringside – it will add even more of a buzz to what’s already one of Belfast’s biggest ever fight bills,” said Frampton. “But as much as I respect ‘Canelo’, he won’t have much to cheer about. Garcia is a good fighter and I’m not taking him lightly, but I have to beat him and I won’t be distracted from the task at hand.”
“If anything, this might put a bit of pressure on Garcia since he has Mexico’s most famous boxer and one of the sport’s biggest superstars is there to support him. It will surely weigh on his mind that he doesn’t want to get a beating in front of ‘Canelo’, but I plan on putting on a show for the Belfast public.”
“Garcia might have one big name cheering him on, but I have a whole city behind me. My fans have waited a long time for me to come back for a homecoming fight and I don’t want to disappoint them after all the support they’ve given me.”
A stacked bill also features Jamie Conlan challenging for his first world title as the Belfast super-flyweight takes on IBF world champion Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines.
Dubbed ‘The Mexican’ due to the dramatic all-action nature of his previous fights, Conlan is delighted that one of boxing’s superstars will be present on his big night.
“I was a bit shocked when I heard ‘Canelo’ will be there – it’s really exciting,” said Conlan. “I’ll have to wear the sombrero into the ring now!”
“I’m fully focused on my job, though. I won’t be getting into another war for the sake of it, but I still want the fans to be entertained and I’m ready for a tough fight.”
Three-time Olympian Paddy Barnes also features on the card as he fights for the vacant WBO inter-continental flyweight title.
The Belfast native plans on delivering an exciting performance to make sure he isn’t upstaged by the famous redhead at ringside.
“I’m not happy at all about it to be honest,” laughed Barnes. “I’m meant to be the most famous ginger at this show! ‘Canelo’ better be cheering on one of his own when I’m fighting.”
Tickets for Frampton Reborn are on sale via the SSE Arena Belfast Box Office, www.ssearenabelfast.com.
Barnes confident amateur experience will stand to him ahead of tough Belfast test
Paddy Barnes believes his elite amateur experience will be key when he takes to the ring on Saturday night at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
Belfast native Barnes features on a stacked undercard in support of his friend and MTK Global stablemate Carl Frampton, who returns to the ring in a headline featherweight bout against Mexico’s Horacio Garcia, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.
Barnes had hoped to defend his WBO European flyweight title for the first time on the bill, but complications surrounding potential opponents has led to a change of plan and the three-time Olympian will instead fight for the WBO inter-continental strap over 10 rounds as he bids to boost his world ranking.
Experienced Nicaraguan Eliecer Quezada (21-6-3) will be the man in the opposite corner and Barnes admits that he faces a tough test in only his fifth professional bout since turning over to the paid game last year.
“I’ve had a look at him [Quezada] and he’s very, very good,” said Barnes. “My original opponent fell through, so that’s changed everything. I was training for a small come-forward fighter and now I’m fighting a taller opponent, so that’s changed a lot.”
Quezada twice defeated compatriot Yader Cardoza, who pushed Jamie Conlan to a split decision last March. That marked Conlan’s last ring outing ahead of his first world-title shot against Filipino IBF super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas on Saturday night.
However, the 30-year-old Barnes – a two-time Olympic medallist and European amateur champion – insists that his amateur pedigree will stand to him this weekend.
“But in the amateurs you’re fighting different styles every day at major tournaments so I’m used to it. I haven’t thought too much about it, I don’t really mind, I’m just looking forward to the fight. I can’t wait, I’m very excited and I’m flying fit, so it should be a good night.”
Barnes is back in action just a few weeks after recording his fourth pro win in Edinburgh when he claimed a six-round points victory over Peruvian Juan Hinostroza.
“That helped me shake off the ring rust coming into this fight,” explained Barnes. “That’ll stand to me. It’s still a bit of a struggle to get the weight down, but I’ve been on a strict diet and I feel sharp and strong and fit.”
Carroll out to boost his world ranking on ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight bill
Jono Carroll will be out to boost his world ranking when he fights for the vacant IBF intercontinental super-featherweight title on Saturday’s big ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight card at Belfast’s SSE Odyssey Arena.
The undefeated Meath-based Dubliner (14-0) was set to clash with his old rival Declan Geraghty this weekend in a rematch of their dramatic 2014 tussle, which Carroll won via disqualification after a fiery four rounds.
However, Geraghty was forced to pull out of the bout last week due to a hand injury, leaving Carroll in search of a replacement opponent.
Mexican Humberto de Santiago (15-4-1) has answered the call and the pair will clash for the IBF stepping-stone strap and a top-15 world ranking this weekend, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.
“I was gutted to hear Deco pulled out, but I wasn’t too surprised,” said Carroll on his MTK stablemate and rival. “I never really thought he wanted the fight anyway.”
“But I’m buzzing to get another opponent sorted and to have the intercontinental title on the line. It’ll help me jump up the rankings and get closer to that ultimate prize. I want a world title and this is just another rung on the ladder I have to climb.”
joyce eagerly anticipating Team Ireland reunion on Frampton Reborn fight bill
Rio Olympian David Oliver Joyce is looking forward to a Team Ireland reunion on Saturday night’s massive ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight card in Belfast.
Six-time Irish Elite amateur champion Joyce (4-0) has his fifth pro fight this weekend – competing in a six-round lightweight bout against Barcelona-based Nicaraguan journeyman Reynaldo Cajina – in support of former amateur rival Carl Frampton, who headlines against Mexican Horacio Garcia at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
An exciting fight bill also features a number of Joyce’s former Irish High Performance amateur team-mates, including Paddy Barnes, Tommy McCarthy and Jamie Conlan with the latter challenging for his first world title.
“It’s just unbelievable to see the talent that’s on the card,” said Joyce, a 2016 Olympian and multiple EU gold medallist. “I don’t think Irish boxing – amateur or professional – has ever seen a card like this with so many talented boxers on it. It’s a great card and I’m so overjoyed to be on it.”
“There’s plenty of familiar faces and to be boxing on the same show as some of my old friends and guys I’ve known from my amateur career is unbelievable.”
Joyce and Frampton fought a series of dramatic amateur bouts before ‘The Jackal’ turned pro in went on to become a two-weight world champion as a pro back in 2009. Mullingar native Joyce waited eight years to follow his old friend and foe into the paid ranks, making his debut last June.
Saturday’s card marks Frampton’s return to the ring after a first pro loss to Leo Santa Cruz last January and Joyce believes ‘The Jackal’ will be back to his best having come through some tough sparring against the Belfast star.
“I’m delighted to see Carl back in the ring and to have him on the same team with MTK,” said Joyce. “It’s like the old days with the Irish team again. We had wars in the amateur game, they were great scraps and just to be on the same show as Frampton again and boxing alongside him is great.”
“I was over sparring with him again recently, so I know what he’s got. He’s going to give the professional game another boost.”
“You’d pay money to watch us spar – the same as in the amateurs – and we got a couple of days of hard, heavy sparring. I was sore going home, I tell you that!”
“To be on such a big show at this stage of my career is phenomenal too and I believe even bigger and better things are going to happen next year.”