It will be of no great surprise to the average punter in Belfast that Carl Frampton now stands a matter of months away from becoming a world champion. More unusual is the announcement of his opponent Kiko Martinez and further leftfield than the Spaniard’s name is the fact that no venue has been decided to host the IBF super- bantamweight world title event.
The anticipated match up between Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz had been the wish of chattering classes since April when the former became mandatory challenger for the Mexican’s WBC belt. Instead Martinez will put his IBF super-bantamweight title on the line in September as he attempts to avenge a knock out loss at the Odyssey fifteen months ago.
The twenty eight year old has been in terrific form of late, never nearing the full distance of any of his last four fights. Bouts that included Jhonatan Romero in the United States and Hosemi Hasegawa in Japan have shown he bears no travel anxieties either. ‘La Sensacion’ can look to Carl Froch for inspiration as the English man convinced Wembley Stadium and millions of pay per view subscribers that one poor performance can be righted with a second chance.
The past still remains ever present in the mind of Martinez, “Since the 9th February 2013, when I get up at five in the morning to go training, I remember him (Frampton)…. I will never forget that night and I will prove it was just a bad night for me.” It is expected that he will arrive back in Belfast when the location of the fight is announced in three weeks.
An outdoor venue is most likely with Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan confident that 20,000 tickets will be sold for the event. The option of Ravenhill looks to be a non-starter as the newly formatted European Rugby competition is set to begin on the same weekend. Should Ulster begin with a home game, contractual television obligations would scupper the possibility of a Saturday night fight. Balmoral showgrounds has been touted as a potential alternative but the task to secure a suitable setting remains negotiable.
Stadiums aside, should Frampton win the contest he will be in the unprecedented position of having a greater say in who he fights and where. It stands to reason the proud Belfast man will continue to put on a show in his home town and deliver mouth watering battles against exceptionally talented boxers in the super bantam-weight division.
Carl Frampton prepares to address the media at a press conference
announcing his IBF World Title Super-bantamweight fight with Kiko Martinez.
In the spotlight. Frampton posing for photographers after the event.