Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Anthony Crolla and David Price will be flying the flag for UK boxing this weekend. Frampton and Quigg will both be hoping to retain their status as champions, while Anthony Crolla will return to the ring after sustaining a career-threatening head injury in a brutal assault to fight for a world title.
And in the early hours of this morning, David Price was looking rebuild his career after back-to-back defeats by American veteran Tony Thompson by winning the European heavyweight title in Stuttgart.
Frampton, (20-0, 14 KOs) regarded as one of Europe’s best young prospects, sets about enhancing his reputation in America by defending his IBF world super-bantamweight title against Mexican puncher Alejandro Gonzalez Jr (25-1, 15 KOs) in El Paso, Texas, at 10.45am on Sunday morning Cambodian time. Frampton, having already taken big-time boxing back to terrestrial television in his native Northern Ireland with ITV, now has his first bout under Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) umbrella.
Haymon is giving Frampton huge exposure in America, and if the “Belfast Jackal” is victorious, he is eyeing a St Patrick’s night fight in New York next March. If successful, this weekend will go a long way to stoking the fire for a winter battle of Britain against Frampton’s biggest domestic rival, Scott Quigg
Quigg is (30-0-2, 22 KOs) defending his WBA “regular” world title in Manchester at 4am on Sunday morning Cambodian time against Spain’s Kiko Martinez (32-5, 24 KOs). Martinez, a former IBF super bantamweight world champion, lost twice to Frampton in 2013 and 2014. The Spaniard is a seasoned veteran at the age of 30 and will be looking to spoil those British domestic fight ambitions in the Manchester Arena.
Quigg, however, has eyes on the bigger prize. “I do have renewed confidence that, after I’ve dealt with Kiko, we can sit down and get this [Frampton] fight finally done,” he said in a recent interview with the Manchester Evening News.
“Frampton’s team had to make that move to go over to America because he has run out of options over here other than facing me.”
Anthony Crolla (29-4-2, 10 KOs) has made a remarkable recovery from career-threatening skull fractures when he was hit by a lump of concrete after tackling burglars at a neighbour’s home last year, and he makes his return with a delayed world title fight against WBA lightweight champion Darleys Perez (18-1, 15 KOs) in what will be an emotional evening in his home city of Manchester on the undercard of the Quigg-Martinez fight.
He told Sky Sports “I’ve got a chance to make a dream come true on July 18 and, with everything that’s happened these past seven months, it’d just make it even more special. A great end to a mad old story!
“In preparation, everything has gone fantastically and I certainly believe I’m in a better position to challenge for a world title now than I was in January before the incident. I’m ready.”
Twenty-four hours earlier in Stuttgart, David Price (19-2 16, KOs) was looking to put behind him the series of injuries which have hampered his rebuilding program since suffering two shock knockouts by veteran American heavyweight Tony Thompson (45-5 27, KOs).
Price, back in European contention on the back of four straight wins, could return to the top 10 in the world rankings with victory against Germany’s undefeated IBF Inter-Continental champion Erkan Teper (14-0 9 KO’s).
If, as expected, the Liverpool hitman was to win the fight, he could be next in line to fight the winner of the much anticipated grudge match between Anthony Joshua (13-0, 13 KOs) and Dillian Whyte (14-0, 11 KOs). The two undefeated British heavyweights will be going head-to-head for the British title in a bout announced for late November.
The pair met in the amateur ranks where Whyte floored Joshua on the way to victory in 2009 and the animosity between the pair has grown since they were in a training camp with current heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Price has stated his desire to get back into the big fights and, with many tipping Joshua as the next big thing in the heavyweight division, they would seem on a course for another big Battle of Britain showdown next year.