Two-weight World Champion Carl Frampton MBE (24-1, 14 KO’s) faces Filipino four-weight World Champion Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24 KO’s) at Belfast’s SSE Arena on Saturday 21st April, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.
The blockbuster bout will be one of the biggest fights to take place in Belfast in recent years and a make-or-break fight for both men.
Frampton is looking forward to meeting elite opposition on home soil in his first bout of 2018.
“It’s a brilliant fight – a four-weight World Champion against a two-weight World Champion,” said Frampton. “Has a bigger ‘away’ fighter ever come to fight in Belfast before? 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.
“But I think 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.”
With a much-anticipated summer fight date at Belfast’s Windsor Park in the works for ‘The Jackal’, 30-year-old Frampton believes a win over the 42-fight Filipino veteran would be perfect preparation ahead of a World Title tilt.
Coming off the back of a 10-round points win over Mexican Horacio Garcia last month in what was Frampton’s first outing since the loss of his WBA World Featherweight crown to Leo Santa Cruz, ‘The Jackal’ is confident that victory over Donaire will tee up a bout against the winner of the scheduled IBF title clash between Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.
“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,” said Belfast native Frampton. “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.”
While Donaire has suffered three defeats since being named 2012 Fighter of the Year by The Ring, ESPN and the Boxing Writers’ Association of America –the same honours Frampton picked up in 2016 – the 35-year-old ‘Filipino Flash’ is eager to prove that he is still an elite force at 126lbs.
“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,” said Donaire. “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.”
Promoter Frank Warren said: “Belfast fight fans are going to be in for another treat on April 21st. This is a guaranteed barn burner between two elite Featherweights. Both men have held multiple World Titles and know that a win will lead to another shot at World glory.
“If Carl comes through this fight then it’s the big one at Windsor Park in the summer next. That is what we promised him and that is what we will deliver if he gets the win in April.”
Richard Schaefer, founder of Ringstar Sports, added: “This is a fight between two of the best Featherweights in the World, with multiple World Titles between them. These are two fighters who are never boring in the ring, two fighters who come forward and love to engage.
“If styles make fights — well it doesn’t get any better than this! On April 21st it will be ‘Fireworks in Belfast’ and boxing fans from around the World will be in for a treat.”
Details of a press conference will be announced in the coming days.
Tickets for Frampton vs. Donaire are available to purchase from the SSE Arena Belfast Box Office, www.ssearenabelfast.com and 028 9073 9074 from 10.00am on Thursday 11th January.
Tickets range from £40 (Tier) to £400 (Inner Ring Hospitality):
£400 – Inner Ring Hospitality
£250 – Outer Ring Hospitality
£150 – Floor
£120 – Central Tier/Floor
£100 – Floor
£80 – Tier
£50 – Tier
£40 – Tier