Promise delivered: Frampton vs Jackson preview
Photo: Queensbury Promotions press release
A likely showdown with IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington awaits if Carl Frampton can defeat Luke Jackson at Windsor Park on Saturday night. Can the Aussie cause an upset? Chris Williamson previews the action...
When Carl Frampton acrimoniously split from Cyclone Promotions shortly after the first loss of his career last year, Belfast's former two-weight world champion presented a small list of demands to suitors looking to acquire his signature. Prominent among them, and one of the reasons Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions succeeded in gaining the Belfast man's services, was the promise to deliver a fight at Northern Ireland’s national stadium, Windsor Park.
Eleven months and two Belfast decision wins against Horacio Garcia and Nonito Donaire later and here we are, with Frampton defending his newly acquired WBO interim featherweight title against unbeaten but little-known Australian Luke ‘Action’ Jackson. It's fair to say that with the grand venue secured - four miles south-west of the SSE Arena where Frampton claimed the interim belt against veteran great Donaire - and a bout with either newly-minted IBF champ Josh Warrington or rubber match with Leo Santa Cruz mooted, the choice of opponent for Saturday night is undeniably a little underwhelming.
Despite this, the bill has been significantly strengthened by the second stage of Tyson Fury's comeback - previewed on BM online by Luke G. Williams - and Frampton's countryman Paddy Barnes challenging Nicaraguan Cristofer Rosales for the WBC flyweight title.
In truth, Jackson has likely booked this chance due to the mix of a lofty WBO ranking (number 5, probably on account of holding the organisation's spurious Oriental title), an unbeaten 16-fight record and a lively, volatile personality which has made for a colourful build-up.
The Australian has clearly noted the spoils of Frampton's world title successes and used them to fuel his own ambition, telling press: "money does not make the world go round but it helps you have a better life. I see the stuff Carl has and I want that. I see he has got the nice cars and a new house and that is what I want."
Unfortunately for the visitor, none of the names on Jackson's record are anywhere near suitable as an apprenticeship for a challenge of this magnitude and the Australian boasts neither the style - a kind of poor man’s version of Frampton’s neat box-punching - or heavy punch to suggest Frampton’s heavily rumoured and lucrative match with Warrington is in too much danger.
Still, the Australian - who captained his country's boxing team at the 2012 London Olympics - talks a good game. "This is a huge opportunity for me to fight Carl Frampton at Windsor Park and I am ready to grab it with both hands," he said. "I’ve trained hard for this and I’ve made all this happen myself. I’ve had no hand-outs no freebies, no rich parents, nothing like that and I’ve worked hard and I’m proud of myself. I’m ready to shock the world and cause a major upset and I feel this is my destiny."
Frampton too has earned his status the hard way; a proud, tough man who is used to the big stage and for whom one senses only a terrific effort from a formidable opponent will match him, especially on home soil. It appears too that Frampton is well recovered from the physical toil of the brace of contests with Leo Santa Cruz, the mental turmoil caused by the split with Cyclone and invigorated by the methods of new trainer Jamie Moore and his effervescent camp of fighters.
Indeed Frampton responded to Jackson's confident talk this week by reminding him of the huge gulf in class at which the two men have been operating.
“He can say what he wants, but he has never boxed at the level I have boxed at,” said Frampton. "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 favourite. I want to do a number on this guy. 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.”
It looks a straightforward win for Frampton, who has all the advantages here and simply does everything better than Jackson, who will no doubt be game for as long as the contest lasts.
With Josh Warrington ringside on Saturday night I expect Frampton to make a statement in front of his peers, stopping Jackson sometime after the sixth round to set up a 'super fight' between the two later in the year. That clash is also likely to be staged at a stadium - Windsor Park or Elland Road - and on that occasion the fight itself and not the stadium will be the main talking point.