3 March 2010 – By Leonard Gunning
Belfasts heavy handed super-bantamweight prospect Carl Frampton, 4-0 (2KO) will face an unbeaten and unknown quantity in Hungarys Istvan Szabo 1-0 (1KO) on the undercard of the Gary Sykes-Andy Morris battle for the British super featherweight title in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England on Friday, March 5.
Frampton, a two-weight Irish senior amateur champion, is no stranger to Hungarian fighters from his amateur days and beat one of their top boxers prior to his decision to join the pro ranks. But the exciting box-puncher isnt taking the challenge of Szabo lightly.
I cant wait to go in there and show what I can do, I dont know much about him apart from he is 33 and unbeaten with a knockout victory on his record, he said.
I beat the Hungarian amateur champion at featherweight and I am sure I will suss this one out as well.
The Holy Family fighter returns to the ring fresh from a points victory over another unbeaten European opponent, Yoan Boyeaux, will now step up for the first six round fight of his career. Manager and mentor Barry McGuigan is sure that his protg doesnt have to worry about the extra two rounds, Carl has just spent a week with us in Kent and he was dynamite.
He worked on a few new elements of a training regime including interval runs, explosive weight training, skipping, hard sparring and some slick pad work were we focused on slipping punches and tucking up. It was a great weeks work and he left really buoyant, enthused McGuigan.
During his stint in England with the Clones Cyclone, Frampton added Akaash Bhatia to his growing list of sparring partners, which also includes John Simpson and Jason Booth, as well a couple of members of the local Army boxing team.
Upon returning to Belfast the Tigers Bay fighter undertook even more sparring as he became reacquainted with former amateur foe David Oliver Joyce, who is in preparation for his 60kg Irish final against his St Michael’s Athy clubmate Eric Donovan.
With all this hard work one could be forgiven if Frampton was tempted to storm the ring and search impatiently for a knockout win but the intelligent and pensive character knows what his mission is this Friday and intends to treat Szabo with the respect he deserves.
“Because I dont know much about him I will have to be careful at the start of the fight, as always go in and try and see what he is like, suss him out and work him out but I have 6 rounds so I have plenty of him, said Frampton.
Szabo hails from the city of Pecs in the south west Hungary which is centre of amateur boxing in the country and the host city of the 2006 European Union Amateur Boxing Championships – the year before a then featherweight Frampton claimed silver in the same competition in Dublin. But Szabo has no such pedigree and Frampton should dispatch his Eastern European foe inside the distance and get another outing before his appears on the undercard of Paul McCloskeys return to the ring in May or June.
McGuigan went on to explain its not about Szabo, in fact I dont mind who we put Carl in with at the moment because I know he will beat them. Ive had three people say to me that he reminds them of a Miguel Cotto type fighter and like Cotto we know he can fight on the front foot but he can also fight on the back foot, Carl thinks about everything he does and is a smart fighter and he doesnt get exposed I dont want him to develop bad habits and this is another step forward.