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The title fights that shaped the career of Carl Frampton

Carl Frampton, center, celebrates his win after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in 2016 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Anthony Geathers/Getty Images

Carl Frampton is hoping a victory on his next fight catapults him into a world title fight later this year.

Frampton is going up in weight to face Tyler McCreary in a 10-round junior lightweight battle on the Oscar Valdez-Andres Gutierrez undercard at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, (ESPN+, main card at 10 p.m. ET with preliminary bouts beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET).

The two-weight world titleholder from Northern Ireland was scheduled to fight Emmanuel Dominguez in a featherweight bout, but a few days before the fight he suffered a hand injury and had to withdraw.

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Frampton embarrassed by injury to hand

Carl Frampton speaks with Mark Kriegel about suffering a hand injury in a "freak accident" and his desire for a world title fight next time out.

Frampton, (26-2, 15 KOs), 32, who lost a unanimous decision challenging IBF world titlist Josh Warrington in December, is looking to revive his career against McCreary (16-0-1, 7 KOs), 26, and hopes to next get a shot at a 130-pound title.

Ahead of the fight, we look at Frampton's best title-fight victories to date.


July 20, 2016: Leo Santa Cruz -- MD

Frampton's finest moment was his victory over Leo Santa Cruz for the WBA world featherweight title at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Frampton -- nicknamed The Jackal -- became Northern Ireland's first two-division world titleholder after he landed the better and more accurate punches to earn a majority decision (117-111, 116-112, and 114-114) over Santa Cruz and take his world title.

Frampton staggered Santa Cruz in the second round, continued to pick him off with fast flurries of punches, and withstood moments of the fight when it turned into a slugfest.

"It was a tough fight," Frampton said after one of the best bouts of 2016.

"I wanted it to be a tough fight because I wanted a fight the people could remember."

Frampton had just moved up to featherweight and traveled to New York to face three-division world titlist Santa Cruz as the underdog. The victory over Santa Cruz not only confirmed Frampton as a top boxer in the United Kingdom, but he was also named the 2016 ESPN.com fighter of the year.

In a rematch with Santa Cruz in January 2017, Frampton lost a majority decision in Las Vegas after delivering another impressive performance. Despite not getting the verdict, it could be argued that the defeat should be considered among Frampton's top five displays.

Santa Cruz utilized his reach and sealed the victory by winning the final four rounds on two scorecards and three of the last four on the third card. A deciding third encounter remains Frampton's ultimate ambition.


Feb. 27, 2016: Scott Quigg -- SD

OK, it was a snoozer of a fight that drew boos and jeers from the crowd at the Manchester Arena. Nevertheless, Frampton dominated this world title unification fight to beat Quigg in the Englishman's home city and broke Quigg's jaw in Round 4.

The Northern Irishman should have earned a unanimous decision, but instead had to settle for a split points win by scores of 116-112, 116-112 to 113-115 in front of 20,000 fans, many of whom had made the trip across the Irish Sea.

Frampton dominated the fight to add Quigg's WBA belt to his IBF title after a clever boxing display in a tactically astute performance. "He was giving me rounds and I was having to do very little," Frampton said. "I felt comfortable in there all the time. It seemed pretty boring to me. I felt I won the fight comfortably."


Sep. 6, 2014: Kiko Martinez -- UD

Frampton's first crowning moment took place in the dockyard area where the Titanic ship was built before its launch in 1912.

Unlike the Titanic, Frampton did not sink in his maiden voyage on the world title scene as he earned a unanimous decision by scores of 119-108, 119-108 and 118-111 over Spain's Kiko Martinez for the IBF junior featherweight world title.

At a specially built outdoor venue at Belfast's Titanic Quarter, Frampton lived up to his nation's expectations and dropped Martinez in the fifth round with a powerful right hand. Frampton then came close to a stoppage in the last two rounds, but there were difficult moments.

Frampton had stopped Martinez in nine rounds 19 months earlier, but was content to go to the scorecards to ensure his career got lift off.

"The Belfast crowd are the best supporters in the world," Frampton said. "I'm from Belfast and it was great to win it for them. I feel a bit emotional -- it has been a long time coming, it has been a hard road."

Frampton stayed calm under the weight of expectation as Northern Ireland's most popular boxer since Barry McGuigan -- who at the time was Frampton's manager and promoter -- who reigned as featherweight world titleholder from 1985 to 1986. Martinez came into the fight after two successful world title defenses.


April 21, 2018: Nonito Donaire -- UD

Frampton could not afford to lose when he stepped into the ring against Nonito Donaire for the interim WBO featherweight title as he tried to revive his career after the Santa Cruz defeat.

And Frampton delivered, with a controlled display which showed plenty of respect and caution for four-weight world titleholder and future Hall of Famer Donaire.

Frampton earned scores of 117-111 on all three scorecards at the SSE Arena in Belfast, but Donaire troubled the home hero in the seventh and 11th rounds.

Frampton boxed off the jab, attacked in two- or three-punch bursts, and on occasion landed a body shot followed by a cute uppercut.

This win looked better with hindsight as Donaire went on to reclaim a version of the world bantamweight title.

The victory also set up a dream summer fight for Frampton at Windsor Park -- home of Northern Ireland's national soccer team -- and a ninth-round win over Australia's Luke Jackson earned him another world title shot, which came in December when he lost to Warrington.


Feb. 28, 2015: Chris Avalos -- TKO 5

In front of a raucous crowd of 11,000 fans at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Frampton delivered a thrilling, fifth-round finish in his first world title defense.

This fight boosted Frampton's profile at home and overseas and was watched by nearly 2 million viewers on free-to-air television in the U.K.

Frampton rocked Avalos with a right that dazed him and then teed off on him until the stoppage in the IBF junior featherweight title contest.