It's St. Patrick's Day, so Top Rank made the announcement many expected was coming on Sunday -- that it has signed Irish star and former two-division world titleholder Carl Frampton to a co-promotional deal under which he will box in the United States and his fights will appear on ESPN platforms.
The deal is similar to the one that Top Rank made last month to co-promote lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury with British promoter Frank Warren, who is also Frampton's co-promoter. Like Fury, Frampton is also managed by MTK Global, which Top Rank made a multiyear deal with last week for MTK Global's events to be broadcast on ESPN platforms, mainly ESPN+.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum had been interested in working with Frampton for quite some time when he spoke with his team in late 2017 about a possible fight with featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez (25-0, 20 KOs).
"It's wonderful news that Carl Frampton has joined us at Top Rank," Arum said. "He is the epitome of a true warrior, and we are proud to be promoting him as he works toward becoming the featherweight champion of the world once again."
Frampton (26-2, 15 KOs), 32, of Northern Ireland, has won world titles at junior featherweight and featherweight and was the 2016 consensus fighter of the year when he unified 122-pound titles against Scott Quigg and then moved up in weight and outpointed Leo Santa Cruz in the United States in a fight of the year candidate.
Frampton lost a tight decision to Santa Cruz in the immediate rematch and then won three fights in a row, including against four-division titleholder Nonito Donaire. But Frampton is coming off a competitive decision loss to featherweight world titlist Josh Warrington on Dec. 22. He will look to bounce back in his first fight with Top Rank, which will come on a date to be determined.
"It's an honor for me to be teaming up with Top Rank for what will be the last chapter of my career," Frampton said. "A credit to my management team, MTK Global, on being able to get me a deal with the biggest boxing promotional company on the planet. It also makes a fight, at some point in the future, with WBO champion Oscar Valdez a real possibility. My goal at this stage of my career is still to become a world champion and I feel I'll reach my goal with MTK and Bob Arum's Top Rank in my corner."
Warren has been doing a lot of business with Arum, including a deal to have his cards streamed on ESPN+. And now he is doing co-promotional deals with his top boxers.
"I'm delighted that we've reached an agreement with Top Rank to co-promote Carl," Warren said. "The enormous platform offered by ESPN in the USA is the perfect place for Carl to showcase he still has everything to offer at the top level. We fully share Carl's belief that he can become a world champion again. He showed tremendous heart against Josh Warrington in December, and they could well end up meeting again down the line in a huge unification."