Carl Frampton to move weight for Belfast homecoming fight?

As we await confirmation of Carl Frampton‘s opponent for his Windsor Park Belfast homecoming this Summer, the publication of the latest edition of the World Boxing Association‘s (WBA) rankings have raised eyebrows.

Frampton, former WBA featherweight champion, has been removed from the 126lbs Top 15, where he was previously ranked #2, and has entered the super featherweight ladder, again at #2.

While Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] remains ranked #1 with the WBC, #9 with the WBO, and #3 with the IBF – all at featherweight – this most recent move with the WBA suggests that ‘The Jackal’ may be in line for a move up in weight.

The Ulsterman, who previously struggled to make the 122lbs super bantamweight limit, moved to featherweight for his title win over Leo Santa Cruz last Summer. Frampton has repeatedly said that he is comfortable at the weight, although he also also spoken of his desire to become a three-weight champion.

Frampton’s homecoming fight is believed to be taking place in late July, and a ‘big name’ had been promised. However, at featherweight, Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr, Oscar Valdez, Lee Selby, Abner Mares, and Scott Quigg all seem very unlikely, for one reason or another, to be the man in the opposite corner at Windsor.

Four-weight champ Nonito Donaire was viewed by many as the next logical choice, however this rankings move may suggest something different.

The WBA’s current champion is Panamanian southpaw Jezreel Corrales [21(8)-1(0)]. The Central American won the belt with a shocking second round knockout victory over Japan’s Takashi Uchiyama last April, and would then return to The Land of The Rising Sun again in for a rematch, winning this time via split decision.

However, Corrales looks set to box Robinson Castellanos on the Miguel Berchelt-Takashi Miura undercard in Los Angeles on July 15th.

Going down through the Top 15, there does not seem to be many ‘stand out’ names, although Uchiyama, Javier Fortuna, and Jesus Cuellar would have some degree of recognition for the general boxing fan, although perhaps not the casual fan.

An announcement regarding Frampton’s next opponent is expected in the very near future, with the Belfast 30 year old already having started camp at McGuigan’s Gym in London.

The WBA super featherweight rankings in full are:

C: Jezreel Corrales (Panama)
1: Bryan Vasquez (Costa Rica)
2: Carl Frampton
3: Rafael Mensah (Ghana)
4: Javier Fortuna (Dominican Republic)
5: Jesus Andres Cuellar (Argentina)
6: Takashi Uchiyama (Japan)
7: Jaime Arboleda (Panama)
8: Yavuz Ertuerk (Germany)
9: Ricardo Nuñez (Panama)
10: Carlos Morales (Mexico)
11: Robinson Castellanos (Mexico)
12: Roger Gutierrez (Venezuela)
13: Harmonito Dela Torre (Philippines)
14: Leonardo Padilla (Venezuela)
15: Alfredo Santiago (Puerto Rico)

Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey speak to Jason Quigley on Episode 5 of The Irish Boxing Show:

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]