Molitor figures to test Frampton

Hot junior featherweight prospect Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland was supposed to take a step up in competition by facing former European champion Kiko Martinez on Sept. 22 at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but Martinez suffered an injury and dropped out of the fight.

His replacement looks like an even more interesting opponent for Frampton: former two-time junior featherweight world titleholder Steve Molitor.

Molitor (34-2, 12 KOs), 32, of Ontario, hasn't been very active, but beating him easily would mark the biggest win of Frampton's career. Molitor lost his title in March 2011 via decision to Takalani Ndlovu, whom Molitor had beaten twice previously, and he returned with a victory in November.

And Molitor certainly won't be put off by traveling to the United Kingdom for the fight. He has fought there four times and won on each occasion, including a fifth-round knockout of Michael Hunter to win his first world title in 2006.

"I love fighting across the pond," Molitor said. "I'm 4-for-4 over there and plan on retaining that perfect record. I am excited about fighting Frampton. Although he is not a household name amongst the rest in my division, he is recognized as a future star. Scott Quigg, Kid Galahad and Carl are all names that are trying to make a name for themselves in the 122-pound division, but unfortunately none of them will be making it off the Molitor name.

"Although I am coming in off of Martinez stepping out, I have been training like a madman for several months. I am not hungry; I am starving. ... I'd like to thank the Irish public in advance for coming out to the show, and I have to tell them: Don't blink; you're going to love the fireworks."

Frampton (14-0, 9 KOs), 25, will be defending his Commonwealth belt. Barry McGuigan, Frampton's manager, is very high on his charge and, like many, views Molitor as a tougher foe than Martinez.

"Steve has boxed at a higher level than Kiko, so this is a much tougher fight for Carl -- but the kind of fight we want him to be in," McGuigan said. "We could've looked further down the list of opponents and taken an easier fight, but Carl wants to operate at the world level, and Molitor is certainly there."