Carl Frampton dared to be great, but the Belfast man came up short in his attempt to become Ireland’s first three-weight world champion, as Jamel Herring scored an emphatic sixth round win in Dubai to retain his WBO Super Featherweight title on Saturday.
Frampton (28-3, 16 KOs) had previously reigned as world champion at Super Bantamweight and Featherweight, while Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) was making a third defence of a title that he won in May 2019 with a unanimous decision win against Masayuki Ito.
Both men were in superb shape, and it was an understandably cagey start from the pair, but it warmed up towards the end of the opening frame, with Herring catching Frampton off balance with his southpaw stance.
Frampton was trying to inch his way into range in the second, but was struggling to get inside the champion’s long levers, although his head movement was dodging Herring’s best work.
The third saw a straight left land from Herring, and he was proving a tough puzzle for ‘The Jackal’ to solve, but the 34-year-old did land with a snappy right hand towards the end of the frame.
Frampton produced his best work to date in round four, landing with a well-timed left and also causing a nasty cut on the left eyelid of Herring.
The damage encouraged Frampton, who had a spring in his step in the fifth, but the American was still boxing well off the back foot, and he roared back to drop Frampton with a straight left hand.
It was a flash knockdown, but it gave ‘Semper Fi’ the boost he needed, and a round later it was curtains for the Frampton dream, as a crushing left uppercut folded the challenger to the canvas, where he barely beat the count.
‘The Jackal’ was on unsteady legs and in desperate trouble, and after a sustained Herring attack, Frampton’s corner had seen enough, and the towel was thrown in.
It capped another impressive win in the Indian Summer of Herring’s career, while Frampton announced his retirement in his post-fight interview in the ring.
“I wanted nothing more than to dedicate this fight to Billy McKee, my old amateur trainer (who passed away in February), but it wasn’t to be,” said an emotional Frampton post-fight.
Yes, this probably the biggest victory of my career, but i just want for everyone to pray and show love for @RealCFrampton. I’ll always be a fan, and he’s a true gentleman. God bless you, my man. Please make it home safely to your beautiful family.
— Jamel Herring (@JamelHerring) April 3, 2021
“I said I’d retire if I lost this fight, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
“I got beaten by the better man tonight. I was coming to win and I just got beaten by the better man.
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“It was an emotional rollercoaster to get here, people doubted me,” said Herring.
“Even with the cut, I wasn’t going to quit. It’s tough to see any veteran of the sport go out like that, but I’m glad he got out on his own two feet.”
Herring said he would be open to a unification clash with Oscar Valdez who spectacularly knocked out Miguel Berchelt to become WBO champion in February, whilst Shakur Stevenson is the mandatory challenger.
The undercard was shorn of one of its best matches, as Zhankov Turarov withdrew from his WBO Intercontinental Super Lightweight title fight with Tyrone McKenna on the day of the bout.
Heading the undercard was one of the leading lights of the lighter weights in Donnie Nietes, and the four weight world champion returned to action after over two years out with a comfortable win on the scorecards against Colombia’s Pablo Carrillo (25-8-1, 16 KOs).
Nietes (43-1-5, 23 KOs) picked up the vacant WBO International Super Flyweight title with his win, and scores of 99-91 and 98-92 reflected his overall generalship throughout the contest.
The third score of 96-95 in the Filipino’s favour was closer than the action suggested.
Kulakhmet blasts out Rondon
Tursynbay Kulakhmet (3-0, 2 KOs) opened the show, and the promising Kazakh defended his WBC International Super Welterweight title, needing just over a minute to flatten Heber Rondon, who was unbeaten in 20 going into the contest.
A heavy right hand floored Rondon (20-1, 13 KOs), and the referee gave the Venezuelan plenty of time to beat the count.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) April 3, 2021
That was to Rondon’s detriment, and he decided fatally to fight fire with fire on the resumption, and a massive counter right wiped the challenger out without a count required.
Davis impresses again
Precocious American talent Keyshawn Davis impressed, as he forced Richman Ashelley to retire at the end of the fourth of their six rounder.
The two exchanged barbs at the weigh-in, but Ashelley (10-2, 9 KOs) was no match for the 2019 World Championship silver medalist, who impressively went through the gears.
Davis (2-0, 2 KOs) caught Ashelley with a left hand that wobbled the Ghanaian at the end of the fourth and the underdog’s corner had seen enough at the end of the frame.
At Super Featherweight, Dubai’s Fahad Al Bloushi (4-1, 1 KO) took a four round points win over India’s tough Suraj (2-2, 1 KO). No scores were announced, but the home fighter took a unanimous win.
At Welterweight, 19-year-old, Faizan Anwar (6-0, 4 KOs) extended his unbeaten record with a unanimous decision victory over Evgenii Vazem (9-14, 4 KOs).