DESPITE talk of him fighting Oscar Valdez, it would appear Carl Frampton’s next shot at a world title will come against WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring, with whom he reportedly has a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to fight next year.

Frampton and Valdez, the former WBO featherweight champion, have been linked for some time now and were expected to fight towards the end of 2019 only for a couple of things to scupper the plan.

First, Valdez signalled his intention to leave featherweight and fight as a super-featherweight, which he does for the first time against Andres Gutierrez on November 30, and then Frampton suffered a freak injury the day before he was due to box Emmanuel Dominguez in August, which set him back a few months.

Now the pair of them are boxing on November 30 and are both campaigning at super-featherweight. Yet, interestingly, should Frampton get past the unbeaten Tyler McCreary it will be Herring, the WBO champion at this new weight, he will face in the first quarter of 2020.

According to Sportsmail, Top Rank, who promote both, have earmarked St Patrick’s Day (‪March 17) as an ideal date for the fight and Madison Square Garden as a potential venue.

Earlier this month Herring, a southpaw from New York, made the first successful defence of his title with a unanimous decision win over Lamont Roach Jnr. He is now expected to be ringside in Las Vegas next weekend to get a closer look at Frampton, a former world champion at both super-bantamweight and featherweight eager for one more run at a championship belt.

Herring and Roach trade bombs

There was a time when it seemed former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew and current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder would share a ring.

They went back and forth at a boxing event in England, they spoke about making it happen, and it seemed, in Bellew’s mind, a more winnable heavyweight fight than ones against Tyson Fury – considered too big – and Anthony Joshua, a friend of his.

In the end, it never happened. Wilder went on to draw with Fury and wreck Dominic Breazeale inside a round, and Bellew, having twice beaten David Haye at heavyweight, retired following a tough stoppage loss at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk, back down at cruiserweight, in 2018.

Now, in a fascinating blog with the BBC, Bellew has this to say about Wilder and his fight this Saturday (November 23) against Cuban Luis Ortiz: “Wilder is brilliant, box office and confusing all in one package.

“He reminds me of former Premier League player Paulo Wanchope, who seemed to have arms and legs flying at all angles yet excited people and was a threat.

“Why it is so confusing is if I was taking a kid to the gym to teach him how to box, I would start with the fundamentals of transferring your weight from your back foot, up through your body and out to your connecting fist.

“Wilder, by comparison, is in the air, feet off the floor, hits someone with a punch from a crazy angle and they are out. I simply cannot explain that and boxing is the only thing in the world I truly understand.

“What I will say is his style guarantees excitement and while Joshua, Fury and (Andy) Ruiz can all make claims on who is best, Wilder is the most dangerous heavyweight in the world simply because of that one-punch power.

“Ortiz is the hardest fight he could have chosen outside of the truly elite names. The man is a Cuban and if you show me a bad Cuban boxer I will show you why you’re wrong.

“But Ortiz is clocking on the years at 40. Wilder will just have too much for him and the question is where that then takes us?

“The ultimate scenario is that Wilder does get beaten by Fury in February and Joshua beats Ruiz for the other three belts. Then next year we could have an all-British affair at Wembley Stadium for all of the prizes.

“It feels like a dream right now but as the last 12 months have shown – from Fury climbing from the canvas against Wilder, to Joshua’s shock defeat and then a WWE stint for the Gypsy King – rule nothing out.”

No doubt a part of Bellew will be wondering how he might have fared against Wilder and the other fighters now positioned towards the top of the heavyweight division, one of whom is Usyk. It’s the sport’s marquee division, after all; the division in which big money can be made; the division in which Bellew only really dipped his toes for those two pay-per-view fights against Haye.

That said, I’m sure a far bigger part of the ‘Bomber’s mind is simply happy for it to all be over.

Tony Bellew
Tony Bellew salutes the crowd (Action Images/Andrew Couldridge)