London’s loss has become Dubai’s gain as world title action comes to the United Arab Emirates for the very first time. Caesar’s Palace is the location, as an Irishman looks to make history at the top of the bill.
Carl Frampton (28-2, KO16) is the man going for a place in the history books, as he seeks a world title in a third weight class.
Standing in his way is the WBO Super Featherweight champion, American southpaw, Jamel Herring (22-2, KO10).
Frampton is not getting any younger at 34, and his prime days seem behind him on recent form, but he remains a talented fighter, more than capable of one last run as world champion.
Carl first gained world glory in September 2014, dethroning Kiko Martinez to win the IBF Super Bantamweight title in Belfast.
Making two defences before unifying, adding the WBA (Super) crown with a split decision grudge match win against Scott Quigg in February 2016.
A move up in weight followed, becoming WBA (Super) champion at Featherweight in a thrilling majority decision triumph over Leo Santa Cruz in New York.
A rematch was a natural, and Santa Cruz turned the tables with a majority verdict of his own to hand Frampton a first defeat.
‘The Jackal’ bounced back with a trio of wins, but somehow didn’t look the same force after his duo of punishing contests with Santa Cruz, and, although he started as favourite in a bid for Josh Warrington’s IBF Featherweight title in December 2018, the Leeds man controlled the action in a deserved points win.
Frampton has fought twice since, defeating Tyler McCreary over ten one sided rounds in November 2019, and then, most recently, stopping Darren Traynor in a ring rust shaker in August 2020.
In Jamel Herring, Frampton faces a fighter coming good later on in his career.
The 35-year-old has bloomed very much in his thirties, only contesting a world title in May 2019 after a previous career in the US Marine Corps.
Herring was very much at a standstill in his professional odyssey after a July 2016 stoppage loss to Denis Shafikov, and then, two fights later, a points defeat over ten to the unheralded Ladarius Miller.
Those losses prompted a gradual move down in weight from Lightweight, and he wrenched the WBO title that he now holds from Masayuki Ito with a clear points win.
The champion has defended twice since, first outscoring the unbeaten Lamont Roach in November 2019, and his last contest saw him defeat Jonathan Oquendo via eighth round disqualification, with the Puerto Rican thrown out for intentional headbutts when well behind.
The Frampton clash has been on the horizon for some time, and the pair finally get it on in Dubai. Frampton has been in bullish mood, but respectful of the champion.
“The fight is finally here. I am absolutely delighted that it is as it’s been a fight that has been talked about for well over a year,” said the Irishman to D4G Promotions, who host this card.
“It’s a huge fight and gives me the chance to become the island of Ireland’s only ever three-weight world champion, and one of the only ever Brits to do it.
“I’ve done it the hard way too, as I have beaten champions to win all my world titles. I have a lot of respect for Jamel Herring, as a man and as a fighter, but I have full confidence in myself that I will beat this guy. You’re always confident in every fight, but I feel this is meant to be and meant to happen. I will not let him take it off me.
“I will do whatever it takes to get my hand raised at the end of the fight. Jamel will be well up for this, but I am too, and I cannot wait to make history.”
Prediction: This is surely Frampton’s last chance to claim a slice of history, and he will have trained accordingly.
‘Semper Fi’ Herring has grown into a champion to be respected, so it will be no easy task if Carl is to emerge victorious.
I think it will be a nip and tuck affair, and could even be cagey, but I think Frampton can enter a league of his own with a tight win on the scorecards.
Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, KO23) seems to have been around for a lifetime, and the Filipino ends over two years of inactivity with a ten round assignment against Columbia’s Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, KO16) with the vacant WBO International Super Flyweight title at stake.
Four-weight world champion Nietes was last out on New Years’ Eve 2018, taking the vacant WBO title at Super Flyweight with a split decision win against Kazuto Ioka.
Nietes has new handlers in MTK Global, and should be able to deal with Carrillo inside the distance, after shaking off some ring rust initially.
At Super Lightweight, Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, KO6) returns after his close majority loss to Ohara Davies in the MTK Golden Contract final last September, but has it far from easy as he challenges Zhankosh Tuarov (24-0, KO17) for the Kazakh’s WBO Intercontinental ten stone strap.
Tuarov is still very green, and won the belt in his last outing, stopping Mauro Godoy in three in July 2019.
It’s a tough ask for Belfast’s McKenna, and I lean towards Tuarov using his slick amateur background to take a points win.
Tursynbay Kulakhmet (2-0, KO1) is a man on a fast track to success, and the Kazakh defends his WBC International Super Welterweight belt against Heber Rondon (20-0, KO13), a Venezuelan with a massively deceiving record.
Kulakhmet gave Macauley McGowan a ten round pasting to win the belt in November 2020, and is full of promise.
Rondon has faced a debutant in eight of his twenty professional bouts, and was last out in December 2020, retiring the 0-7 Allison Moreno after two.
Kulakhmet can halt Rondon here before halfway of their ten rounder.
The talented Keyshawn Davis (1-0, KO1) can take out Ghana’s Richman Ashelley (10-1, KO9) another man with a padded home record, inside the first half of their Lightweight six rounder.
Indian Welterweight, Faizan Anwar (5-0, KO4), should have too much for Russian, Evgenii Vazem (9-13, KO4) but may have to go the six round distance.
At Super Featherweight, Fahad Al Bloushi (3-1, KO1) can take a win on the cards against Suraj (2-1, KO1) over four.