McGuigan banking on Frampton birthday bash

Barry McGuigan is hoping for the perfect birthday present from his protégé tomorrow night, with the Clones Cyclone calling on Carl Frampton to deliver a knockout in his first world-title defence.

McGuigan banking on Frampton birthday bash

The undefeated super-bantamweight world champion (19-0) defends his IBF crown for the first time since defeating Kiko Martinez five months ago, taking on Californian Chris Avalos (25-2) at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena.

Avalos has been vocally dismissive of the champion since arriving in the northern city, claiming he will knock Frampton out midway through their bout (scheduled for 12 rounds), but McGuigan, who turns 54 tomorrow, wants a stoppage win from Frampton to be the icing on his cake.

“I know we’re going to be celebrating, most definitely we’ll be celebrating,” said the former WBA featherweight champion, speaking in advance of yesterday’s final pre-fight press conference,

Maintaining that Frampton must deliver a performance to impress as the fight marks the return of world-championship boxing to terrestrial television on UTV Ireland, and ITV in the UK, McGuigan insists Frampton is more than aware of the pressure he is under to perform.

“Carl is on the threshold of some very big fights. I think he’ll have a severe test of his abilities on Saturday night,” said McGuigan. “This kid [Avalos] is very brave, strong, a dangerous puncher and he’s confident and has come to win. But Carl will beat him emphatically and convincingly and I’d like to see Carl knocking him out in the last third of the fight.

“That sounds harsh, but I’d like to see him end it dramatically, because that also rings a bell if you pardon the pun,” continued McGuigan, who hopes his Cyclone Promotions company can agree a long-term deal with ITV/UTV.

“We’d like to have a long-term relationship with ITV, but we’ve got to show them we can put on a bells and whistles show – that we have the talent and the connections.”

Avalos stands in the way of that ambition, and while the 25-year-old challenger hasn’t been shy in confidently predicting a win, he appeared to be in more subdued form at yesterday.

“He [Avalos] is obviously a little bit tight on the weight, he’s in a bad mood but I’m expecting a tough fight,” said Frampton.

“I’ve prepared hard for it, but this guy knows what’s going to happen. He’s lost twice before to guys who don’t compare to me. It’s going to be another loss. He’s used to it already, it’s going to be more of the same.”

Both of Avalos’ previous two losses came on points in a 27-fight career, and his management team are believed to be so confident in victory for the Lancaster native that they have reportedly wagered around £10,000 (€13,700) with the Belfast bookies.

The Californian and his manager, Mike Criscio, even challenged Frampton to bet some of his purse on the outcome of the fight – an offer the champion laughed off.

“I wouldn’t like to take your money off you,” Frampton told Avalos. “You’ve had the same tracksuit top on you for about four days. Every time I’ve seen you, you’ve been wearing that coat so I wouldn’t like to take your money off you.”

An angry Avalos retorted: “Unfortunately, all of us weren’t born with a silver spoon”, obviously unaware of Frampton’s upbringing in the working-class Loyalist area of Tiger’s Bay. The former Ireland amateur international laughingly replied: “Who’s got a silver spoon? I’m from the ghetto, mate – T-Bay!”

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