Carl Frampton, a junior featherweight titlist with enormous popularity in his native Northern Ireland, will make his United States debut in a title defense against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. on July 18 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, Cyclone Promotions announced Monday.
Frampton, who will face Gonzalez in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on CBS, has fought exclusively in the United Kingdom, but his journey stateside has been expected since signing with adviser Al Haymon, the mastermind of the PBC, on May 28.
Frampton (20-0, 14 KOs), 28, known as "The Jackal," will be making the second defense of his 122-pound world title.
He won a lopsided unanimous decision to claim the belt in a rematch of a previous win against Spain's Kiko Martinez last September in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and then made his first defense, also in Belfast, on Feb. 28 as he scored an easy fifth-round knockout of American mandatory challenger Chris Avalos.
Gonzalez (25-1-2, 15 KOs), 22, of Mexico, is untested against quality opposition, although he has bloodlines and figures to be the crowd favorite among an expected Mexican crowd.
His father, Alejandro Gonzalez Sr., won a featherweight world title from Kevin Kelley in 1995 and defended it twice before losing it later that year.
"I am delighted to be defending my title in the USA on July 18th live on CBS against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. I want to become a star in the USA, and this is my first step on that journey," Frampton said. "Now that my team is working with Al Haymon, I am set to defend my title in front of millions of U.S. fight fans on CBS.
"Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. is a dangerous Mexican challenger, but he has never fought anyone like me and on the 18th of July he is in for a big, big shock. I feel I am the best [junior featherweight] in the world, and I am excited to box in front of a huge television audience in the USA."
Cyclone Promotions said it is still in talks for a television deal in the United Kingdom.
Barry McGuigan, the Hall of Fame former featherweight titleholder and Frampton's manager, said he believes Frampton's fan-friendly, action style will resonate with American boxing fans.
"I believe Carl's all-action style will captivate the U.S. fight fans. Frampton has all the ingredients needed to become a major star in the USA," McGuigan said. "He is an exceptional fighter with a brilliant personality who has a fanatical fan base in the U.K. Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. is a hungry and dangerous young Mexican boxer who will be travelling to El Paso, Texas, to rip that belt from Frampton. This is going to be a cracking fight."
By signing with Haymon, Frampton also opens the doors to potential bouts against other name opponents who are also with Haymon, such as junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz, featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr., former featherweight and junior featherweight titleholder Abner Mares and featherweight titlist Jesus Cuellar.
Junior middleweight titleholder Cornelius "K9" Bundrage (34-5, 19 KOs), 42, of Detroit, was supposed to make the first defense of his second title reign on the July 18 card against mandatory challenger Jermall Charlo (21-0, 16 KOs), 25, of Houston.
However, Bundrage suffered a bad cut over his left eye during a sparring session on Monday and the fight was postponed.
"They told us K9 will probably be out six to eight weeks so the fight will have to be rescheduled," Ronnie Shields, Charlo's trainer, told ESPN.com. "Jermall is a little disappointed but he said there's nothing he can do about it, so just move on.
He knows the fight will be rescheduled because it's a mandatory. He also knows he's ready [to fight for a world title]. He's absolutely ready, but this is one of those things that happens in boxing. So he's taking it OK."
In March 2014, Charlo also had a world title shot canceled, on just a few days' notice. He was supposed to challenge Carlos Molina -- who later lost the belt to Bundrage -- on the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo Showtime PPV undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. However, Molina got arrested the week of the fight and it was canceled, costing Charlo a shot at the 154-pound belt and a $100,000 purse.
When the fight with Bundrage was called off, Shields said that Charlo reflected on that experience.
"He said, 'This is nothing compared to the thing I went through with Carlos Molina. At least this guy just got a cut, so we'll reschedule it,' " Shields said.
The July 18 card takes place on what amounts to boxing's version of a baseball day/night doubleheader.
Frampton-Gonzalez headlines an afternoon card at the Don Haskins Center, and former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (48-2-1, 32 KOs) will face Marcos Reyes (33-2, 24 KOs) at the same arena in the super middleweight main event of the Showtime-televised evening card.
Showtime and CBS are sister networks and will cross-promote both events, while Haymon's organization is working out the details for the ticket sales, although it is likely that those who purchase tickets for the evening session will be offered free tickets to the afternoon the session.
Chavez is coming off an April 18 loss to Andrzej Fonfara in a light heavyweight fight that ended with Chavez quitting on his stool after the ninth round of a one-sided fight.