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List of Articles by Maloney L. Samaco



By Maloney L. Samaco
08 Apr 2018

The fight between Nonito Donaire and Carl Frampton, both former fighters of the year who have won world titles in different weight divisions, scheduled for April 21 at the SSE Arena in Frampton's hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland, was upgraded on Thursday to be for a vacant interim featherweight world title, promoter Frank Warren announced.

Oscar Valdez, who holds the WBO version of the 126-pound world title, retained his belt by unanimous decision against Scott Quigg on March 10, but Valdez suffered a damaged jaw and broken teeth that will take time to heal and will keep him out of action most likely until at least late this year.

With Valdez sidelined by the injury, the interim title was made available. Valdez will have to face the winner of Donaire-Frampton tussle when he returns to action.

“Frampton and I are both champions and our fight deserves to be a 12-round title match,” Donaire told Joaquin Henson of the Philippine Star. “I was told that the fight was upgraded a week or two ago and I think it’s great. It’s a reflection of how big this fight is. I know the fans will go all out to cheer for Frampton in his hometown but that’s not a problem for me. Once the fight starts, my mind will just be focused on winning and I won’t hear the crowd.”

"A huge night of boxing in Belfast just got even bigger," Frampton was quoted by ESPN. "This is great news, and it adds a whole lot more razzmatazz to the event -- not that it needed it. I was sure that the winner of this fight was going to go on to fight for a world title in their next fight, and having an interim world title on the line on April 21 all but confirms that.”

Frampton declared that Oscar Valdez is mandated face the interim champion when he is ready to fight, and that's an added incentive for himself and Donaire. The Valdez fight is very appealing to the Irish boxer, and likewise the winner of the title fight between Lee Selby and Josh Warrington on May 19 is also equally appealing to him. He thinks the Valdez fight would get a lot more attention worldwide rather than just in the U.K.

"Obviously, [Valdez] has an injury that he needs to recover from, but there's a lot of options for me now, and it's always good to have options in this game. Having an interim belt on the line brings something a little more special to the whole event," added Frampton, the 2016 Fighter of the Year.

When the 27-year-old Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) of Mexico, successfully defended his title against Genesis Servania in September in Tucson, Arizona, Valdez promoter Top Rank and then Frampton manager Matthew Macklin made initial talks talked about a possible Valdez-Frampton fight.

The 31-year-old Frampton (24-1, 14 KOs), is a former unified WBA (Super) and IBF super-bantamweight titlist and a WBA (Super) featherweight champion, lost his featherweight belt to Leo Santa Cruz by majority decision during their rematch on January last year. Frampton then went with a new promoter Frank Warren and new trainer Jamie Moore and then came back with a 10-round unanimous decision win over Horacio Garcia on November 18, after surviving a seventh-round knockdown.

Frampton has been on a similar situation when he also went down the canvas twice in the first round but recovered in time to beat Mexico’s Alejandro Gonzalez, Jr. via a unanimous 12-round verdict in El Paso, Texas, in July 2015.

The 35-year-old Donaire (38-4, 24 KOs), born in Bohol and raised in General Santos and now fighting out of Las Vegas, has won world titles at IBF flyweight, unified WBC and WBO bantamweight, IBF then WBO junior featherweight and WBA featherweight, and was the 2012 fighter of the year. He lost the WBO junior featherweight title belt by controversial decision to Jessie Magdaleno in November 2016.

He then parted ways with Top Rank and signed with promoter Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports, and then in his first fight with the new promoter, won a lopsided 10-round unanimous decision against Ruben Garcia Hernandez last September.

Donaire will leave Las Vegas and fly for Belfast on Friday. He was quoted as saying that he will do heavy training but no sparring in his first two days in Belfast then taper off. Weight is not a problem as he is at ease with his present featherweight division. Presently, he tipped in at around at 130 and won't have a hard time reducing to the 126 lb. limit during the official weigh-in.

Donaire said he has been doing well in his training camp and he has sparred at least 80 rounds with five or six different fighters. His concern right now to avoid peaking too soon so he cut on his long sparring. His strategy is to rotate sparring mates with various fighting styles so will be used to doing some adjustments.

Donaire described Frampton as not an ordinary boxer. “Frampton’s not anyone like I’ve fought before. He reminds me a little of Fernando Montiel whom I knocked out with a single left hook in the second round in 2011. Frampton’s more of a straight-up kind of fighter and unlike Montiel, I don’t think he’ll give me a wide opening for my left hook. He’s both a boxer and puncher. Whatever style he’ll use, I’m ready so bring it on,” he told Henson of PhilStar.

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