By: Oliver McManus
It is fight week in Belfast with 25,000 people set to descend upon Windsor Park this coming Saturday to witness Carl Frampton defend his interim WBO featherweight title against, Australian challenger, Luke Jackson whilst Irish Olympic hero Paddy Barnes challenges for a world title of his very own – the WBC Flyweight belt currently held by Cristofer Rosales – and as if that wasn’t enough the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury, will complete a stellar line-up.
Fighting at the home of the Northern Ireland football team, Carl Frampton will be fulfilling a lifelong dream and against Luke Jackson, Frampton faces an opponent who, on paper, should be no match for the silky skills of the 31 year old.
Against Nonito Donaire back in April, Frampton displayed a piercing shot selection to outwork the Filipino with ease to win by six rounds on all three scorecards and his aggressive ring-craft shows no signs of letting up regardless of opponent – an almost unnerving knack of remaining steadfast in the centre of the ring before capitalizing on even the smallest of concentration lapses give him a genuine for the best British boxer, pound for pound.
Seemingly annoyed by some of the things that Luke Jackson has said, the added needle is always extra motivation for a convincing performance and with his home crowd roaring his name we can be sure that Frampton will seek to deliver a punch-perfect masterclass as he awaits a potential fight with Oscar Valdez, pending the Mexican getting back from injury.
Jackson, on the other hand, is convinced that his amateur pedigree will see him claimed the victor with, to quote him, Frampton having “achieved everything he wanted to achieve”. Jackson believes himself to be the hungrier of the two boxers and admits that we’ve yet to see anything like his best over the course of his 16 fight professional career.
Having waited seven years from his Commonwealth medal to transfer to the paid ranks, the Australian is looking to rise up ranks in double-quick time and whilst the level of opponent that he’s faced hasn’t been the most inspiring he has, by all accounts, worked his way to this world title challenge with relative ease.
Strong in the engine, Jackson has the stamina necessary to keep a high tempo across the 12 scheduled rounds and attempt to wear down his more experienced counterpart but, in equal part, Frampton’s terrier-like energy ensures that this fight will be an eye-catching spectacle with plenty of shots being thrown from both corners.
If there’s one thing you can count on from this fight between Carl Frampton – an all-time British great – and Luke Jackson – a hungry Hobart hero – its action.
We all know what Carl Frampton is about whereas Luke Jackson has the factor of the unknown about him, if he’s to topple Frampton in his own backyard then he’ll need to produce an all-time great upset in order to match his confident talking.
Paddy Barnes will be looking to produce an upset of his own – at least according to the bookies – but with odds of 2/1 on the leprechaun becoming WBC Flyweight champion upon the conclusion of his fight with Cristofer Rosales, he is well worth a punt.
Barnes will attempt to wrestle the prestigious green belt of the Nicaraguan champion in only his 6th professional fight but with amateur pedigree as rich as royalty, the experience he possess is enough to match any man and as a natural aggressor he’ll look to dictate the pace of the encounter from the outset.
Against Eliecer Quezada – another Nicaraguan – last November. BAarnes looked his most complete with the rangy boxer switching stances periodically throughout the bout and demonstrating his superfluous footwork before rocking Quezada with right hand after right hand, securing a 6th round knockout to set up this world title clash.
Rosales is no stranger to fighting away from home and has even fought on UK soil before when he faced Andrew Selby back in 2017 and himself produced an upset in April this year to claim the world title when he knocked out Daigo Higa during the 8th round of their nip-and-tuck contest.
Faster with his hands than Barnes but slower with his feet, this fight promises to be mouth-watering from the outset and Rosales is, historically, a big puncher with 18 knockouts from his 30 professional fights – 27 of those being wins.
Andrew Selby was on the receiving end of a Rosales trademark on-the-ropes flurry and hit the canvas before overcoming the Nicaraguan on points so whilst the champion does pack that power, if you can keep cool and composed then he’s there for the taking.
Onto the big man then with Tyson Fury who, actually, having said he’s the big man has been looking astonishingly slim when walking around in Belfast this week so you can expect a markedly more mobile performance from the lineal champion than on his June 9th comeback.
Franceso Pianeta is a distinct step up from Sefer Seferi although that’s not particularly hard and even though Pianeta has been a two-time world title challenge there is a distinct yearning for someone like Sam Sexton or Gary Cornish to get in the ring with Fury in order to provide a domestic challenge of some sort.
The German-Italian will come to fight, Fury has said as much, and whilst there seems to be very little prospect of this being anything other than a Fury victory we can be sure to see him work through the motions and, hopefully, unfurl the type of performance we saw against Wladimir Klitschko way back when in 2015.
A return to a world title fight beckons with, WBC Champion, Deontay Wilder set to be ringside in Belfast ahead of the potential announcement of a bout between Fury and Wilder – scheduled for either November or December – that fight “99% done”.
And it’s that fight on the horizon that could serve as the additional motivation required to produce a display that shows the Tyson of old, the Tyson we all want to see back in the ring and, more importantly, the Tyson that can set up a blockbuster fight with Anthony Joshua.
As always when fight night hits Belfast, we are in for one hell of a treat.