Carl Frampton fought a seamless fight as he savagely destroyed Chris Avalos in five rounds to successfully defend his IBF super-bantamweight title for the first time. Returning to ‘The Jackal’s Den’, as Belfast’s Odyssey is endearingly known on fight night, Frampton wasted little time in forcing his prey into submission. In front of a 9000 capacity crowd, his slick talking Californian challenger was silenced by a series of stunning shots that called on referee Howard Foster to wind up the fight before a second half could be sounded.
Needing oxygen as he sat pained on his stool at the end of the contest, Avalos had no time to reflect on meeting a challenge that was so obviously greater than the skills and technique he possesses. What he does know now is that sharing a ring with Frampton can quickly lead to the onset of stage fright. For that is how his performance is sure to be remembered.
Not helping his cause from the opening round when he decided to illegally clip the champion with a less than subtle right hand, Avalos was warned about his conduct, to a lengthy chorus of boos. Often characterised as an artful counter-puncher, Frampton choose to showcase much more of his attacking attributes and in so doing often had time to swing freely at Avalos. During an inexcusable moment of recklessness in the second stanza, the American lost his concentration and slightly bowed from a body blow, let his guard down. As he stood unprotected, Frampton wouldn’t follow suit by dithering and instead smashed his man with all the subtlety of a Saturday night out. Blood lay on the face of Avalos in the third as heavy pressure continued to be met tamely. Trying to front up in a war remained his preferred option but after taking a powerful over the hand right in the fourth, a more defensive resolution should have been introduced. Without such a tactic, Frampton’s fast hands met their target perfectly. Clean shots to the head continued at a pace well-known to the Jackal’s past conquests, particularly Kiko Martinez. Unlike the Spaniard’s glass chin and relentless energy, Avalos looked shot of physical stoutness and emotional belief. In the end, he was left to surrender after sustaining further damage in the fifth by which time Mr. Foster had concluded that unanswered punches had to stop for the benefit of all involved.
To the delight of a celebrating stadium audience and a suitably entertained host broadcaster in ITV, Frampton once again highlighted his intention of being the very best at 122-pounds by casting aside the frivolous claims of a sorry contender. Watching from ringside, Scott Quigg surveyed the fight and could be the next worthy opponent to pick a bone with the IBF’s in-form champion. A summer match-up between the pair is a strong possibility.
Before the fireworks of the main event a packed undercard saw a range of entertaining bouts.
Brixton Heavyweight Dillian Whyte forced Beka Lobjanidze to retire in a manner that suggested the Georgian was content to walk away from fighting at the first opportunity given to him. Having been caught with a left cross in the fourth round, Lobjanidze was then put to the floor by Whyte’s flailing elbow. Looking decidedly uninterested in proceeding, the Georgian somewhat controversially elected to remain on his knees and lose the bout.
Denton Vassell struggled with wilful Victor Plotnikov as the Ukrainian dominated the first title fight of the night. With a vacant IBF Inter-continental welterweight title to inspire both men, Plotnikov tagged his prey in the opening round with a fierce left hook that almost had the desired effect of putting Vassell on the canvas. Instead, the Manchunian’s legs wobbled but failed to buckle. Noticeably hurting from Plotnikov’s unending combinations, the ‘quiet storm’ was disappointingly meek. Unable to adjust from a position of inferiority, he failed to protect his head throughout the distance. On one such occasion in the final round, Vassell had to defy a referee’s count (Vassell’s second of the night) to continue but he only remained with his pride, not a welterweight belt. Plotnikov had his hand raised soon after.
Anthony Cacace put on a comprehensive display against durable Spaniard Santiago Bustos to take his unbeaten record to eleven. Effective when lining up punches from distance, the featherweight had his rival on the canvas in the third after a serious of punches that ended with what appeared to be an illegal push. When preferring to counter-punch, the bearded Belfast favourite relied on switch-hitting and firm left hooks to swat away any attempts to be placed in a toe-to-toe event.
Conrad Cummings eased to a sixth successive win against previously unbeaten Roberto Palenzuela after being awarded a unanimous victory in his international middleweight contest. The Coalisland boxer broke the defences of his opponent with measured confidence. Setting up vicious attacks with straight left hands for much of the fight, the 23 year old also used well-timed combinations to take full advantage of Palenzuela’s inexperience. Suffering flush headshots from the second round onwards, the Spaniard grimaced on the ropes for long periods of the six rounds.
WBO European Featherweight champion Marco McCullough made his ring return after a hand injury and barely drew heavy breathe en route to a first round stoppage victory over Malkhaz Tatrishvali. With Tatrishvali judged to be in no position to defend himself, after unwisely turning his back on McCullough, referee Hugh Russell Junior waved off the fight less than 70 seconds into the action.
Cyclone’s latest addition Josh Pritchard enjoyed a successful four round outing as he produced a wide points triumph over Aron Szilagyi. Making his professional debut the English youngster convinced each judge that his work was deserving of a shutout win.