Frampton chasing history in tall task against Herring

By Sports Desk April 02, 2021

Carl Frampton will draw upon a deep well of experience when he faces WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring on Saturday and bids to join an elite club.

Victory would make Frampton only the fourth British boxer in history, after Ricky Burns, Duke McKenzie and the great Bob Fitzsimmons, to become a three-weight world champion.

The Belfast hero would also be the first man from the island of Ireland to accomplish the feat, having experienced unforgettable highs, crushing lows and the bitter fallout of boxing politics en route to this defining outing at Caesar Palace, Dubai.

Nevertheless, a warm affection for the fundamentals of his craft remains.

"I'm 34. I started boxing when I was seven. Twenty-seven years I've been doing this game," he told Stats Perform News.

"The thing I love most about it is the fighting and the sparring. That hasn't changed.

"I'm relishing the fight, I'm relishing the chance to go down in history, I'm relishing the fact that I'm about to fight a big man.

"People will look at the size of me compared to him and completely write me off. I'm just up for this one. I really want to win it."

Those doubters will point to the fact Frampton's spell at the pinnacle of the sport – he was named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year in 2016 – came half a decade ago.

A super-bantamweight unification victory over domestic rival Scott Quigg in February of that year was followed by a barnstorming triumph against Leo Santa Cruz in New York to lift the WBA featherweight crown.

Santa Cruz won a similarly absorbing rematch and an attempt to reign again at 126lbs came unstuck against Josh Warrington.

By the time of that 2018 points loss in Manchester, Frampton had endured an acrimonious split with manager Barry McGuigan and his son and trainer Shane McGuigan. A multi-million pound legal battle with Barry McGuigan was settled last November.

As that feud rumbled on, the fighter established his ongoing relationship with former British and European light-middleweight champion Jamie Moore and assistant trainer Nigel Travis.

"I want to win a world title with Jamie and Nige," he said. "I know they're fantastic coaches. I'm still annoyed with myself that I didn't win the fight against Josh Warrington.

"I hold my hands up, I got it completely wrong. It was more a case of me getting it wrong than me being 'done', which some people would like to think.

"Jamie's won a world title with Chantelle Cameron. I'd like to become his first male world champion and kind of repay them for everything they've done for me."

Frampton credits Moore with significantly developing his capabilities as a body puncher, something that could be key against rangy southpaw Herring, who has a five-inch height and seven-inch reach advantage.

"I think the improvements in body punching that Jamie Moore has made, it's kind of sensible," he said.

"Look at my size and stature, why was I not a better body puncher before I went to Jamie?

"I've fought big guys my whole career, I've sparred big guys. There's more than one way to skin a cat.

"People think I'm just going to have to jump on this guy because of the difference in stature from me to him, people think I'm just going to have to kill the space and get on his chest. I don't see it like that.

"I think that my footwork is one of my best attributes. If I can use my feet and control the distance well, I can win the fight a couple of different ways."

The showdown with Herring has been a long time coming, with a minor hand injury for Frampton in February causing a further delay after the champion endured coronavirus and a scratched cornea in 2020.

Nevertheless, as is often the case in boxing, another money-spinning clash looms on the horizon, with rising American star Shakur Stevenson mandated to face the winner.

"He's openly said he'll come to Belfast to fight me," Frampton said of Stevenson, raising the prospect of one more raucous blockbuster in his home city.

"He's an unreal fighter. Really, really good. Not the biggest puncher in the world – well, I thought that against Josh Warrington, didn't I?

"I would go into the fight, I'm sure, with Shakur Stevenson as a big underdog. But, again, that's another thing that excites me."

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