Carl Frampton and Tyson Fury ready themselves for bigger fights

Former two-division titlist Carl Frampton (left) and promoter Frank Warren. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

Former two-division titlist Carl Frampton (left) and promoter Frank Warren. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

 

Last week Golden Boy Promotions experienced a volatile start to a series of events featured exclusively on Facebook Watch. Their feed crapped out for four rounds in the middle of their main event (featuring Joseph Diaz Jr. vs. Jesus M. Rojas), giving rise to unabashed mocking on Twitter and Facebook. Tomorrow afternoon (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT) Showtime streams its sixth boxing event of 2018 (Showtime’s broadcasts have been flawless) on its Facebook and YouTube social media platforms. They feature WBO interim featherweight champion Carl Frampton, 25-1 (14), as well as comebacking and always-talkative lineal world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, 26-0 (19). A sold-out Windsor Park in Belfast will host 30,000 fans of hometown boy Frampton, which is sure to provide a raucous background for fights against beatable but confident foes Luke Jackson, 16-0 (7), and Francesco Pianeta, 35-4-1 (21), respectively.

 

Intense challenger Luke Jackson does not believe in sneaking up on the champ, riling up Carl Frampton with pre-fight chatter. Tomorrow will reveal if Jackson’s trash talk has gotten under his skin or just ramped up Frampton’s levels of focus and intensity. Jackson contends Frampton is past his prime, looking flabby and does not own an amateur pedigree comparable to his own. Frampton has paid attention, “He can say what he wants but he has never boxed at the level I have boxed at. He has been slightly disrespectful with the things he has said. He has tried to backtrack but the bottom line is that he has said these things. He has made his bed and he has to lay in it. He is getting it – he really is.”

 

A usually calm Frampton has gotten the bit between his teeth and wants to impress his Belfast brothers with a stoppage victory, “If (Jackson) performs to his best and I perform to my best, I’m knocking him out, simple as that. I’m due a knockout. I haven’t knocked anyone out in quite a while.” Frampton added that he understands the method to Jackson’s madness, “He sees that he’s a complete underdog and there’s no pressure on him. People are writing him off. That can help fighters. When they have no expectations on their shoulders, they can go and perform out of their skin.”

 

(From left to right) Former two-division titlist Carl Frampton, promoter Frank Warren and Luke Jackson. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

(From left to right) Former two-division titlist Carl Frampton, promoter Frank Warren and Luke Jackson. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

 

An experienced war horse, Frampton says he is not looking at this fight as a tune-up or keep-busy fight. “I’m certainly not taking Luke Jackson for granted in the slightest. I’ve done that before against Alejandro Gonzalez and I ended up on my backside twice in the first round. I’ve learned from that fight.”

 

However the 31-year-old Irishman is not averse to look into the future, once he dispatches Jackson, refusing to hide his contempt or intentions, “The plan after Jackson is (WBO featherweight titlist) Oscar Valdez (still recovering from a badly-broken jaw) or (IBF titleholder) Josh Warrington, which would be the easier to make because we are both promoted by Frank Warren. Warrington and myself is more appealing to British sports fans but It doesn’t matter who I face. You could flip a coin to decide whether it is Warrington or Valdez. I will have a title and that puts me in a stronger position and ready to tackle (WBA belholder Leo) Santa Cruz. That is the fight that appeals to me more than any other.”

 

A man comfortable facing boxing’s harsh realities, Frampton recognizes the consequences of a loss, “I want to be world champion again. If I lose this fight, my career is over; that’s the truth but I’m not intending to lose it. Victory over Jackson sets up a potentially sizzling showdown with another fighter who has a massive fan base, Josh Warrington, the new IBF featherweight champion from Leeds. Lips are already being licked in anticipation of that one.”

 

This is Frampton’s third fight under trainer Jamie Moore and the pair have settled into a crisp routine at the gym. Frampton has never been more content, especially relieved that the strains of travel to train have been lifted and he can spend more time with his family, “This camp has absolutely flown by. It doesn’t seem that long ago when we were in Tenerife and that was a couple of months ago. It’s probably something to do with how much I am enjoying my boxing right now. I’m enjoying myself as a boxer. Nobody takes themselves too seriously away from the boxing and that is the environment I like to be in. We’re serious when we have to be but there is a lot of lighthearted stuff that goes on when it’s downtime.”

 

Featherweight Luke Jackson. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

Featherweight Luke Jackson. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

 

Lightheartedness is not something associated with challenger Luke Jackson. An Australian representative at the 2012 Olympics, Jackson overcame alcohol and drug addiction, while battling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (misdiagnosed as anxiety and led to suicidal thoughts). The 33-year-old channeled his obsession into a relentless training habit that fueled his Olympic ambition. He advocates for mental health issues now, speaking at many local, national and government health care events. Jackson related to Hobart’s Mercury newspaper how he often felt, “When you have mental health issues, when you have a bad day, you let it drown you. You feel like you’re suffocating and it just feels a bit too much.”

 

In the same interview, Jackson said his proudest achievement, going to the London Olympics, was a mixed blessing. “Boxing’s always been my savior, so that’s why I turned professional. Last time I retired (after his amateur triumphs), I got into the drugs. I didn’t have anything. I don’t want to retire but, if I did retire tomorrow, I’ve got this gym. Without my OCD, I wouldn’t have gone to the Olympic Games. I am obsessed with training.”

 

Jackson argues that superior fitness is the key to beating Frampton, which is why Jackson is so outspoken and confident. What Frampton interprets as slights, Jackson views as truths, “I don’t think he is as good as he once was. In the first fight against Leo Santa Cruz, he boxed out of his skin and deserved to win but he hasn’t looked the same since. Carl is a very good fighter who does everything good but I don’t honestly think he does anything great. I don’t know if he wants me to call him a Hall of Fame fighter or the greatest but I don’t think he is. He is very beatable and I think I can beat him, simple as that.”

 

“I don’t really care if what I say upsets him. I respect him as a fighter; I respect him as a man but I am coming to beat him, not coming over to be friends.”

 

There is a equation Carl Frampton feels Jackson cannot deal with, “We talk about levels in this game and there are different levels. I have boxed at a very high level for a long time. This is the first time he has mixed it at a high level and he is not going to be able to cope, especially coming to Belfast. I don’t read into odds but I imagine I am a strong favorite. The bookies haven’t got it wrong because basically I want to do a number on this guy.”

 

Just before Frampton and Jackson butt heads, advertised as a special event, lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury faces former fringe Italian contender Francesco Pianeta. Fury recently returned from a mental health and substance abuse-induced absence of nearly three years. The southpaw Pianeta is a decent step up in competition after a farcical “fight” against a blown-up cruiserweight Sefer Seferi, who was the walking definition of hapless. Two-time world title challenger Pianeta is a better measure of where Fury is, in his ambition to regain the titles.

 

 

The former IBF, WBA and WBO champion Fury needs to look formidable to boost chances of enticing WBC beltholder Deontay Wilder into a showdown. Just as importantly, Fury must convince American television networks and skeptical fans to take him seriously. As for Fury, he never stopped seeing himself as the best heavyweight in the world, “What you’re likely to see from me on Saturday is a heavyweight Sugar Ray Leonard. Anything less is a failure. If I come through this, then Wilder has a chance to fight me for the lineal championship. I’m not the one who gets the chance to fight him. Let’s face it; he hasn’t really fought anybody.”

 

Lineal world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

Lineal world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

 

Despite dismissing Wilder’s resume, Fury is not taking Pianeta lightly, “I’m not underestimating Francesco. I know he’s a very big, strong fellow and he knows if he wins this fight, then he can go on to fight Wilder instead of me. I do want to win a world title again, so I have to raise my game. I know what to expect; I expect him to bring his ‘A-game’ and he’s going to try to knock me out because that’s what they all do. Hopefully he’s not successful and we put on a great show and entertain the fans.”

 

Heavyweight Francesco Pianeta. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

Heavyweight Francesco Pianeta. Photo credit: Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

 

One place where Fury always delivers is at the podium and the final press conference for this event was no different. Boxing fans and the press may think Fury has an uphill fight to regain his titles but Fury never relinquished his ego, even as his belts were usurped by others. “It’s very easy to win all the belts back. I’ve only got to beat two bums basically. Wilder and Joshua and that’s it. They both haven’t got a brain cell between them, so it shouldn’t be too hard for a great boxer like myself.”

 

 

 

You can contact the Good Professor at martinmulcahey@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @MartinMulcahey.

 

Comments

comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,