Belfast-born Carl Frampton returns to his hometown on April 4 as he edges ever closer to a shot at the WBC World Super-Bantamweight title.
Frampton takes on Hugo Cazares in a final eliminator at the Odyssey Arena, with the victor earning the right to face Leo Santa Cruz for the belt.
Venue: Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Date: Friday, 4 April
Time: 6 p.m. BST/1 p.m. ET
TV Info: BoxNation
Frampton is undefeated in professional boxing, with 17 wins out of 17 heading into Friday’s bout, but faces a tough fight against the 36-year-old Mexican.
While the Northern Irishman has enjoyed ample success against those that pack a weaker punch than him, he tends to come unstuck against the bigger hitters—a category that Cazares undoubtedly falls into.
During two of Frampton’s recent fights against Kiko Martinez and Raul Hirales, the 27-year-old had to stay light on his feet due to the punching power of his opposition, and emerged with rather ugly victories. Having said that, a win’s a win.
Cazares, nicknamed El Incredible, spoke to Independent.ie ahead of Friday’s fight, where he appeared relaxed about taking on the home favourite:
"I like this city. I feel like this is home. I've won all my titles on the road. I feel confident being here."
However, as BoxNation revealed via Twitter, Frampton is in similarly high spirits:
The Jackal has fought four times at the Odyssey Arena, with three technical-knockout victories and one knockout win—coming in his last match against Jeremy Parodi—but beating Cazares will be a much tougher task.
A victory would see Frampton earn a trip, possibly to Las Vegas, to take on Santa Cruz, who has held the WBC Super-Bantamweight title since August 2013 according to BoxRec.
In an interview with IrishBoxing.com, Santa Cruz praised the ability of Frampton, and said that when the two collide it’ll be a fight to remember:
“Frampton is a great opponent, he’s really strong and comes forward, he fights in my style and I think if I face him it will be a great fight for me. He has great power and I could see a fight of the year or at least a fight of the night because we both come forward and go for it so it would be a real battle.”
The stakes couldn’t be higher at the Odyssey Arena on Friday, and as the career of Frampton continues to grow, there may be many more big fight nights to come in the Northern Irish capital.