SERVED UP A TREAT IN BELFAST
By Frank Warren
FIGHT WEEK IN Belfast once again more than delivered the goods in a big way and the plotting of Carl Frampton’s next move is now very much in the works.
It is a complete pleasure promoting major shows in the city and the response of the boxing public is always first class. The atmosphere generated in the arena is unsurpassed and it makes for such momentus occasions.
The fans are real boxing people who really know their stuff and show respect to both fighters, no matter where they come from.
The whole experience leaves you wanting more of the same and that is exactly what we are planning.
Carl did precisely what he had to do against an experienced and respected operator in Nonito Donaire, who demonstrated that he is anything but washed up, especially when he rocked the home hero back on his heels in the 11th round.
Nonito was always going to be dangerous throughout so it was vital that Carl boxed a composed and clever fight right from the off to get the job done.
He has got himself into an important position with the winning of the interim world title and I have already spoken with Bob Arum regarding Oscar Valdez, while we have also got the outcome of the forthcoming Lee Selby-Josh Warrington blockbuster to consider.
It is all systems go now and, whatever happens, we will be putting on a show towards the end of August at Windsor Park.
Carl has clearly got his sparkle back and he seems happy in himself. As he said, everything has been positive for him and there has been no negativity, so he is in a good place.
I would also like to place on record what an absolute joy to work with Nonito is and he more than played his part throughout in making the night such a success. He is a real top fella and, for me, his place in the Hall of Fame should be assured.
Believe me, we are building something very special over in Belfast. Carl is obviously the catalyst for it all at the moment, but there are other big things in the pipeline.
Mick Conlan returning to fight in his home city for the first time as a pro is one such development and we will also be looking to get Paddy Barnes in a big title fight on the same June 30 card back at the SSE Arena.
Carl will keep bringing the big nights for the foreseeable future, but he is also giving opportunities for others to shine on the big stage and ultimately take over as the fan favourite.
After the stirring exploits of Luke Keeler in defeating Conrad Cummings and Tyrone McKenna in winning a tough fight against Anthony Upton, it is true that proceedings on Saturday lost a little bit of momentum during the Zolani Tete-Omar Andres Narvaez world title clash and we were all disappointed with the lack of ambition displayed by the challenger.
Sometimes fights just don’t turn out how we imagine they will and I don’t recall any complaints over the match during the build-up, with Narvaez being a two-weight world champion with only two defeats in 52 going into the fight.
It is why I found talk about a ‘blame game’ following the landslide points victory by Zolani a bit OTT. The simple truth is Narvaez didn’t come to win, he tucked up and stayed on the backfoot for the whole fight.
We can all be smart after the event, but the fact is nobody predicted a non-event beforehand. Zolani has now dealt with his mandatory obligations for now and there are plenty of big fights ahead for the incredibly talented and increasingly popular South African.
ONE OF OUR number with a big fight ahead of him this weekend is the also very popular Bradley Skeete, who ventures over to Bilbao to challenge for the European title against the unbeaten Spaniard Kerman Lejarraga.
When you fight away from home it is always a tough job, but I have got every confidence in Brad to come through with flying colours because he is such a capable operator.
His ambition is to get in the world title mix at welterweight so challenges like this need to be overcome convincingly – and I am sure it will be.
Just a thought, if Amir Khan fancies a proper test after his 40-second blow out at the weekend, our man Brad would be more than willing to accommodate him next time around.