Carl Frampton’s highly-anticipated featherweight fight with Nonito Donaire has been confirmed for April 21 at Belfast’s SSE Arena.
The 30-year-old continues his pursuit of what he hopes will be another world-title fight against the once highly-rated Filipino, who has been a world champion at flyweight, bantamweight and super-bantamweight.
Frampton was unconvincing when, in November against Horacio Garcia, he returned from almost a year out, and was working for the first time with new promoter Frank Warren and new trainer Jamie Moore.
His points victory represented his return since his first ever defeat to Leo Santa Cruz, in January 2017, but he plans to fight at Windsor Park in the summer against the winner of the match-up between Josh Warrington and Lee Selby.
“Has a bigger ‘away’ fighter ever come to fight in Belfast before?” Frampton asked of the 35-year-old Donaire, once considered one of the world’s finest fighters. “I don’t think there’s been a bigger name than Nonito Donaire and he’s coming to fight a local guy in his hometown.
“Both of us are in the same situation, a slip-up here and one of us might never fight for a world title again. There’s a lot on the line for both guys.
“He’s been at the top of four divisions, but he was in the same weight division as me for quite a while and he’s someone I’ve always kept an eye on. He’s someone I admire as well and I think he’s a great fighter, but I think this is the perfect fight to get me ready for a world title fight in the summer.”
Donaire, who since a defeat in his second fight, has lost only for world titles against Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicolas Walters and Jessie Magdaleno, said: “This is exactly the type of fight I live for.
“Going in against one of the best in the world in the lion’s den of his hometown of Belfast. I can’t wait for the first bell. I know I’ll have to be the best I can be on fight night. Make no mistake, I’m already training like never before.
“I plan to put on a spectacular show for my fans, his fans and boxing fans in general. When I walk out of the ring victorious, it will have all been worth it.”
Warren is also promoting the IBF featherweight title fight between defending champion Selby of Wales, and Warrington, which will be held in Leeds, and he added: “If Carl comes through this then it’s the big one at Windsor Park next.
“That is what we promised him and that is what we will deliver if he gets the win in April.”