Saturday Night Boxing Preview: Frampton v. Jackson, Tyson Fury Returns

A preview of Saturday night’s boxing card, set to take place in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Updated: Aug. 16, 2018 • 8:05 PM ET

Championship boxing will return to Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Carl Frampton will defend his WBO interim featherweight title in a 12-round fight against undefeated Luke Jackson on Saturday in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, the co-main event on Saturday’s card will see the return of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who will battle Francesco Pianeta in a 10-round fight.

Frampton claimed the vacant title in April, winning by unanimous decision over Nonito Donaire. He’ll have the blessing of fighting at home, again, in Belfast, a place where he has never lost. The Northern Irelander is a former two-weight champion, having held the unified WBA Super and IBF Super Bantamweight titles from 2014 to 2016. Additionally, Frampton held the WBA Super Featherweight title from 2016 to 2017.

When Frampton won the featherweight world title, he became just the second boxer in history of Irish descent (the first from Northern Ireland) to hold world titles in two weight classes. He has been consistently ranked among the world’s top featherweights and is currently slotted third by The Ring Magazine and BoxRec.

Frampton is 25-1 with 14 knockouts, his only loss coming by majority decision to Leo Santa Cruz in January 2017 after defeating him just six months prior. Aside Donaire and Santa Cruz, he has defeated notable fighters such as Horacio Garcia, Scott Quigg, Alejandro Gonzalez and Chris Avalos. Frampton is also quite confident heading into Saturday’s title fight.

"I'm faster than him, I hit harder than him, I'm a better boxer than him and I'm a better fighter," Frampton said via BBC Sport. "He may say he is fitter than me, maybe he is. He may beat me at Ninja Warrior but in boxing terms he can't beat me."

Australia native Jackson is 16-0 as a professional and posted an 113-32 record as an amateur. During his career as a pro, he has claimed the WBO Oriental and the WBA Oceania featherweight titles. Yet, Jackson is certainly taking a step up in competition by facing Frampton. Jackson most recently defeated Surachet Tongmala, who posted a 7-8 record before the fight, by knockout in April.

Jackson knows what he’s up against in Frampton.

"I've been an underdog my whole life," Jackson said via BBC Sport. "I'm not supposed to be here. My friends are either in jail or they're dead and that's where I'm supposed to be.

"A lot of my family are on drugs and are doing the wrong thing and I dropped out of school in grade eight [aged 14] and I wasn't supposed to amount to nothing, that's what everyone said to me, but I have because I've been dedicated to the sport of boxing. I've trained hard and I've made all this happen myself; I've had no hand-outs no freebies, no rich parents, nothing like that and I've worked hard and I'm proud of myself."




Co-main event

Saturday’s co-main event will feature the return of undefeated former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. He last fought in June, defeating Sefer Seferi by RTD in the fourth round. That fight followed a two-and-a-half year layoff for Fury after defeating legend Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.

The layoff began shortly before Fury announced that doctors had diagnosed him as bipolar. Many have doubted his disease, but Fury has long described it to be quite real.

"I woke up every day wishing I would not wake up any more," Fury told BBC Sport a few months back. "But I am living proof anyone can come back from the brink.

"There is a lot of people out there suffering with mental health problems who think all their days will be grey, but life can improve again and you will start to enjoy the little things again."

He added, "Boxing is like a marriage - you have to work at it. You do fall in and out of love. But I have spiced it back up again, bought her some sexy lingerie and we are back at it, better than ever."

Fury is 26-0 with 19 knockouts and expects to face WBC champion Deontay Wilder, a fight that many fans have anticipated for years, with a win on Saturday against Pianeta.

“If I come through this, Wilder has the chance to fight me for the lineal championship,” Fury said at the final press conference this week. “Let’s face it, he hasn’t really fought anybody and he’s had 40 fights.”

The 33-year-old Pianeta is coming off of a loss in June to Petar Milas by unanimous decision and is 1-2 in his last three fights. He’s 35-4-1 overall with 21 knockouts and has gained notable experience fighting for titles against Klitschko and Ruslan Chagaev, but he lost to both by knockout. A win over Fury would be the biggest of his career and throw a giant monkey wrench in a Fury vs. Wilder title fight.

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