This year has seen an interesting turn of events for the former two-weight World champion Carl Frampton. Firstly; lost his undefeated record to Leo Santa Cruz, followed by his departure from career-long associate and fellow Belfast native Barry McGuigan, moving to British boxing stalwart Frank Warren which subsequently led to Frampton moving trainer to Jamie Moore.

This past Saturday we saw Frampton return in the aptly named show “Reborn” against Horacia Garcia at the SSE Arena in Belfast for Carl Frampton’s introduction to the BT Sport viewers. After a reasonably comfortable unanimous decision win, Frampton told BT Sport “That got the rust off, the cobwebs are gone. Now I want one of the big boys”

When asked about who he would like to fight next and when? Frampton continued “I think there is a few guys tied up at the minute. Santa Cruz and (Abner) Mares will probably fight in the spring. (Josh) Warrington and Lee Selby are probably going to fight in the spring… One at Windsor Park in the summer, that’s what I want”

When Frampton signed with Warren 2 months ago, the message and intent from Carl Frampton was very clear with what he wants to achieve in his remaining years in boxing. To live a childhood dream and fight for a World title at the Northern Irish national stadium; Windsor Park. Warren tasked with the promotional aspects of this desire, his work shouldn’t be too hard. Carl Frampton is one of the biggest sports stars in Northern Ireland and has enough fame and notoriety to generate a high level of interest if he fights anybody in Belfast. However to fill the 18,000-seater Windsor Park, Frampton would need a World Champion to face, realising his burning ambition.

A vibrant and deep Featherweight division brings up lots of possibilities; Gary Russell Jr, who holds the WBC title would be a more than a worthy opponent, as would be the WBO champion Oscar Valdez and IBF champion Lee Selby. But it’s the WBA Super champion Leo Santa Cruz that would bring a close to a thrilling trilogy between the pair. Sadly for boxing fans the prospect of this happening is appearing to be less likely than Frampton fighting any of the other featherweight World champions. With the WBA having made clear Mares and Santa Cruz will be required to fight next, as it looks set to take place in the spring of 2018. Santa Cruz, known for fighting only twice a year, it’s highly unlikely Santa Cruz v Frampton III would be achievable next summer at Windsor Park.

The WBO champion Oscar Valdez could be the easiest option for Frampton’s new promoter Frank Warrren. His long and prosperous relations with the WBO would dramatically speed up the negotiating process to lure Valdez to Belfast next summer. Valdez being a reasonably unknown World champion would help in regards to BT Sport paying the WBO champion enough money to put his title on the line, earning the Mexican a career high payday. WBC champion Gary Russell Jr is likely to face the exciting Joseph Diaz in the coming months. The prospect of Frampton fighting the winner of that suggested fight would be a realistic reality, however the WBO route is in the driving seat as we currently stand, with between six and nine months to make Frampton’s dream a reality.

IBF champion Lee Selby is already being lined up for fellow Frank Warren fighter Josh Warrington at some point in 2018. Selby will have to dispatch of Eduardo Ramirez on December 9th on his BT Sport debut befor that can take place. If Selby v Warrington can happen sooner, rather than later, you imagine the victor would have enough time to face Frampton in his dream venue of Windsor Park.

Frampton, Selby and Warrington all being signed to Frank Warren gets rid of much of the redtape in making such a fight. Warren telling IFL TV on Saturday “That’s the name of the game for us, to get these guys in against each other” Warren clearly has no problem pitting his top fighters against one and other.

By Adam Noble-Forcey