Hellraiser Boxing - The Hellraiser Weekender is out a little early this week. In it Adam Thorn examines Carl Frampton's year and the Reborn card he headlines in Belfast, giving previews and predictions for the top three fights.
Hellraiser Boxing News | The Hellraiser Weekender: Frampton Looking To End Year On A High
The Hellraiser Weekender is out a little early this week. In it Adam Thorn examines Carl Frampton's year and the Reborn card he headlines in Belfast, giving previews and predictions for the top three fights.

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The Hellraiser Weekender: Frampton Looking To End Year On A High

by Adam Thorn

By his own admission Carl Frampton has not had the year he intended. 2016 saw career best wins over Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz, but that momentum crashed into the rock in January. After domestic rival Quigg was defeated for the IBF and WBA super bantam titles, Frampton stepped up to featherweight to outscore Leo Santa Cruz in Brooklyn for the WBA Super title. That win was a huge one, and earned Frampton many fighter and his coach Shane McGuigan many trainer of the year awards. Little did Frampton know he was riding the crest of that particular wave.

Frampton celebrates

An immediate rematch with the Mexican in January this year did not go as Frampton had planned, as a revitalised Santa Cruz picked off a slightly below par Carl, who did have his moments as the fight went on. However, another majority decision this time went the Leo's way, and Carl was left contemplating his first career loss, his record now 23-1 (14). Always a hard psychological hurdle, the first defeat, and surely one which gets bigger the longer that “0” stays in tact.

A homecoming fight in Belfast with Andres Gutierrez in late July fell through after Gutierrez slipped in the shower, smashing teeth and badly cutting his chin. Despite the Andres pleading that the fight should go ahead, it clearly could not. Interestingly, overshadowed by this bizarre event at the time, was the fact that Frampton had come in a pound over the weight. The disappointment of no fight at all dissipated this ominous and uncharacteristic error.

Then, a month later, an announcement that Frampton was to split with Barry McGuigan's Cyclone promotions and trainer, Barry's son, Shane. The euphoria of that mid to late 2016 high was lost in the surf. But just as with waves, boxers come again, and sure enough the swell of excitement grew around Carl Frampton once more as he announced a deal with Frank Warren in late September. Frank has been putting on exciting, competitive cards and his BT Sport deal for BoxNation has seen his popularity and reach soar.

The homecoming was back on, and once again Belfast braces itself for a tsunami of boxing excitement. A little while later, Horacio Garcia, 33-3-1 (24), was announced as opponent. While not known on these shores, Garcia trains out of Canelo Alvarez's Guadalajara gym, and was highly touted in his native Mexico and the States. His most recent loss, a points reverse to Diuhl Olguin, he immediately avenged with a sharp, powerful display that left Olguin on all fours, staring at the canvas, looking for his wherewithal.

While Garcia is undoubtedly no mug, neither is Frank Warren. Frampton is a high profile acquisition and top quality fighter, it would be a surprise to see him put in with a real danger-man after 10 months out of the ring in his first fight for a new promoter, in a homecoming. The Belfast crowd will show up in droves to see their hero, and Garcia will have been carefully picked to ensure they get a good show, with plenty of what they want. The show has not been named “Reborn”, in honour of Frampton, for nothing.

At Thursday's press conference The Jackal said, “It’s two-and-a-half years since I last fought in Belfast and I’ve a good record here – a 100 per cent stoppage rate in the Odyssey so I’m hoping to continue that.” A desire to please is entirely understandable, and those going and watching will be hoping Carl does get the stoppage. Standing in his way though, will be Horacio Garcia. Cation should be advised.

Garcia has never been knocked out, and he carries power, as evidenced by his twenty four knockouts. However he is not not massively mobile, and is prone to staying in the pocket and being countered to the body. Ring rust must be accounted for, and the Jackal has also got the monkey on his shoulder of that first defeat. Carl could come out firing, but is more likely to ease back into the big time, see what Garcia has to off, then go through the gears as new coach Jamie Moore gives orders to do so.

A buzzsaw like Carl Frampton at his best would chew Garcia up and spit him out, and here's hoping that's what we see, but there are too many variables to confidently predict a start to early finish shellacking for Saturday night. This is only ten rounds, not twelve. Expect a competitive fight in the opening stanzas while Carl finds his feet, then as he grows in confidence and gets his timing right, it'll be a race to the stoppage before high tide. The partisan crowd will leave sated, if not elated.

Frampton to win by late knockout or landslide points victory.

Conlan Confident And In Condition

Jamie Conlan could barely contain his excitement about his first world title shot at the press conference on Thursday, and who could blame him? The thirty one year old, who like Carl Frampton, is fighting in his home town, is known as “The Irish Gatti” and has amassed an impressive 19-0 (11) record ahead of his IBF super flyweight title fight with Filipino Jerwin Ancajas, 27-1-1 (19).

Jamie Conlan in action

Speaking of his joy at the big night approaching, Conlan said, “It’s exciting because I’m eager to see how I do and how I perform. I’ve had a great training camp and everything is done... I feel in a great place mentally as well as physically, so I’m excited – very excited,” While it is easy as a fan to get carried away on his behalf, Conlan's effervescence is infectious, he himself had better not. Ancajas is a very good operator, and has defended twice on the road already.

In his last fight Ancajas travelled to Australia, to stop Teiru Kinoshita, then 25-1-1 (8), in the seventh round on the undercard of the infamous meeting between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn. Kinoshita was slightly taller and slightly rangier. Conlan is also slightly taller and slightly rangier, but of a much different style than Kinoshita. Ancajas has incredible one punch power for a super flyweight, and Conlan has been down before.

If Conlan can contain his enthusiasm to rush into Ancajas, and use his good amateur pedigree to feel the Filipino out, he can use the champion's strengths against him. Perhaps because of his power, Ancajas tends not to throw varied combinations, relying on single shots and one-twos. If tied up or there's an opening he'll throw repeated blows, but to the same target. He also comes in and out in straight lines.

If Jamie can settle, not rush in and go to war to live up to the “Gatti” comparison, get his counters right and time it to get inside the linear attack of Ancajas, he could make easy work of this fight. It's certainly well within his ability. However, should he get caught, this fight could change on a ha'penny. With the home crowd behind him, Conlan may overheat and do something rash. Making this a closer fight than it needs to be.

Conlan to just about have the edge in a firefight. A close points victory meaning the IBF belt stays in Belfast.

Time To Shine For Tete

Belfast is admittedly an odd home for an all South African world title fight. Zolani Tete, 25-3 (20), has fought his last three fights on these shores, and has his eyes on a local man; Ryan Burnett. Tete is part of the Warren stable, and Burnett Matchroom, so any agreement beyond this fight may not be an easy one, but for Tete to stay relevant, he has to fight on these shores.

Tete KO's Butler

Tete holds the WBO bantamweight belt, having won the interim version in April in Leicester with a superb, dominant performance over Arthur Villanueva. He is a class act, and one suspects Siboniso Gonya, 11-1 (5), will be the fall guy in this match up. Gonya's only venture outside of South Africa to fight, was to Namibia, not noted for it's similarities to Belfast.

Gonya is also, by some distance, less experienced than Tete. If it weren't for the WBO Intercontinental and WBA Pan African titles Gonya has won in his mere twelve fight career, one might question why he was being given the shot at all. If Tete made then 30-1 (16) Villanueva* look baffled, hurt and like he wanted to go home before beating him wide on points. Gonya will succumb before the final bell.

Tete to announce himself to Belfast as a champion worthy of Burnett, stopping an overmatched opponent before midway.

*Villanueva ran into the brick wall of Luis Nery earlier this month, who remains the pinnacle of the Bantamweight division down in Mexico.

Posted: 17th Nov 2017

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