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GUEST ARTICLE: Big Fight Preview – Frampton v Gutierrez

By Paul Mason (@KOBoxingSets)

This Saturday (29th July) sees Carl Frampton (24-1, KO14) return to his home City of Belfast, and to terrestrial television, on Channel 5. The Odyssey Arena is the venue, and Cyclone Promotions stage the event. The Mexican Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, KO25) provides the opposition. There are no titles at stake, but the important number one spot in the WBC Featherweight rankings the prize. The excellent Gary Russell Junior is the current Champion.

 

Frampton is coming off a loss in his last fight, a sequel in a great series with Leo Santa Cruz for the WBA strap. The rubber match is on the back burner for now, as the WBA have afforded Abner Mares the number one spot in their rankings, leaving Frampton going down the WBC route. Other options available to Frampton include a mouth-watering domestic dust up with IBF Champion, Lee Selby, and negotiations are in progress, with Frampton attending Selby’s impressive defence against Johnathan Victor Barros in London last weekend. The other champion in the division is the highly rated Mexican, Oscar Valdez, who serves as the current WBO Champion at the weight.

 

Frampton turned professional in the summer of 2009 after a decent amateur career. After ten straight wins and a Celtic Super Bantamweight Title under his belt, he fought Mark Quon for the vacant Commonwealth crown, stopping the Australian in four rounds. Two stoppage defences followed, before Frampton began climbing the IBF ladder in the division. He outpointed Raul Hirales, before stopping former World Champions Steve Molitor, and Kiko Martinez. By stopping Martinez, Frampton also became European Champion. He cemented his lofty ranking by stopping decent operators Jeremy Parodi and former WBA and WBO Super Flyweight Champion, Hugo Cazares, both in Belfast. This finally merited a shot at the IBF Title, which was held by Martinez. The fight took place in the setting of the Titanic Quarter in Belfast. This time Martinez lasted the distance, but was widely outpointed by “The Jackal”.

 

Frampton followed the Martinez win up with a commanding knockout of the American Chris Avalos, but suffered a harder than expected American debut in his next fight against the recently deceased Alejandro Gonzales Jnr. Frampton was knocked down twice in the first round, but then made the necessary adjustments to cruise home on the cards. In February 2016 Frampton was finally matched with long-time nemesis, Scott Quigg in a unification match for both the WBA and IBF versions of the title in Manchester. Frampton eked out a split decision win in a match which never caught fire. This lead to Frampton chasing bigger fish in bigger weight classes, and a challenge for WBA Featherweight Champion Leo Sant Cruz’s belt. In a stunning match in New York, Frampton prevailed via majority decision in a classic, which gained him the accolade of the esteemed Ring Magazine Fighter of the year for 2016. A rematch was a natural and this time Sant Cruz turned the tables by the same method, one judge scoring the bout even, overruled by two scoring it 115-113 in favour of Santa Cruz.

 

So Frampton is now on a road to redemption following his first professional loss, and immediately goes on the title hunt. I don’t envisage Gutierrez causing too many problems, as his record is heavily padded. He has only fought outside of his native Mexico twice and as recently as June last year, he suffered his first career loss to former Super Flyweight World Champion, Christian Mijares via majority decision. He also has a draw on his slate from early on in his career. I can see Frampton playing this one safe and coming through widely on the cards to open various doors to World Title fights later on in the year.

 

The undercard, as with most Cyclone promotions cards is bare. Conrad Cummings (11-1-1) meets Robert Swierzbinski (18-6-2) for the spurious WBO European Middleweight Title, while Paddy Gallagher (11-3) fights for the even more lightly regarded IBO Continental Welterweight Title against Ricardo Silva (14-1).

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