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Frampton vs. Donaire winner to face Oscar Valdez

By Jim Dower: The winner of next month’s April 21st fight between former world champions Carl Frampton (24-1, 14 KOs) and Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24 KOs) will be facing unbeaten WBO World featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (24-0, 14 KOs), as soon as he recovers from his broken jaw he suffered in his last fight against Scott Quigg on March 10.

Frampton-Donaire will be televised on BT Sport and BoxNation on April 21.

Frampton will be battling the 35-year-old former four division world champion Donaire for the interim World Boxing Organization featherweight title at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The interim WBO 126 lb. strap is on the line due to Valdez’s jaw injury. Valdez is expected to inactive for the remainder of 2018 while healing and rehabbing the injury.

Donaire has a chance to put himself in position for a big title fight. Donaire’s best days are well behind him, but he’s still capable of fighting at a high level. Just how high is unknown. Donaire lost to Jessie Magdaleno by a 12 round unanimous decision in November 2016 in a one-sided fight. Last year, Donaire fought only once in beating Ruben Garcia Hernandez by a 10 round unanimous decision at featherweight. The fight was a lot closer than the scores turned in by the judges. Donaire’s punching power isn’t as good at featherweight compared to when he was fighting at 112, 118 and 122. Donaire’s punching power was more formidable in those weight classes than at 126.

“A huge night of boxing in Belfast just got even bigger,” said Frampton. “This is great news and it adds a whole lot more razzmatazz to the event – not that it needed it. I was sure that the winner of this fight was going to go on to fight for a World Title in their next fight and having an interim World Title on the line on April 21st all but confirms that.”

Frampton is excited about putting himself in position to fight Valdez, because he believes he can beat him. Quigg didn’t come close to beating Valdez, and took a lot of a punishment. Valdez did a better job defeating Quigg than Frampton did. Frampton beat Quigg by a 12 round split decision in February 2016. The thing that Frampton has going for him right now is the punishment Valdez took in the Quigg fight.

If Valdez isn’t the same fighter after that contest, then that gives Frampton a better chance of beating him. Donaire is not someone that Frampton can afford to overlook though. Donaire is still a bigger puncher with better hand speed than Frampton. If Donaire is able to land his big shots on Frampton, he could beat him. What might make that hard to do is Frampton’s larger frame. He’s a natural featherweight and he has a good chin. Frampton has never been hurt before in his 9-year pro career.

The 31-year-old Frampton is not quite the same fighter he once was either. Part of the reason for that are his 5 tough fights in a row that he’d had since 2015 against Horacio Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz (twice), Scott Quigg and Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. In Frampton’s last fight, he had to battle hard to defeat fringe contender Horacio Garcia by a 10 round unanimous decision last November. Frampton got the victory, but it was not a good performance from him. He was knocked down by Garcia in the 7th, and beaten to the punch on numerous occasions by the younger 27-year-old Mexican fighter.

“Oscar Valdez must face the Interim Champion when he is ready and that’s a big incentive for myself and Donaire,” Frampton said. ”The Valdez fight is very appealing to me and obviously the winner of Selby v Warrington is also equally as appealing. I think the Valdez fight would get a lot more attention on both sides of the globe rather than just in the UK.”

Without a doubt, Frampton would gain a lot more attention in the boxing world by fighting Valdez than the winner of the Lee Selby vs. Josh Warrington fight. Selby is not highly thought of by the boxing public when it comes to them rating the best fighters in the featherweight division. Frampton will get more publicity if he faces Valdez and beats him. I don’t know if Frampton has enough left in the tank to beat Valdez. Frampton had two really hard matches against Santa Cruz that seems to have taken something out of him. If Valdez is the same fighter that beat Quigg, then Frampton is going to have an awfully tough time trying to beat him.

The way Frampton looked in his last fight, he’s going to need to bring his A-game for him to beat Donaire next month. Donaire is not an easy out. He’s still a top fighter with good punching power. Frampton looked vulnerable in his last fight against Garcia, and Donaire is a better fighter with more power than that guy. Frampton could lose to Donaire if he’s mentally ready for a hard fight.

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