Carl Frampton returns to the ring on August 10 in Philadelphia. Mexico’s Emmanuel Dominguez has been chosen to test the Belfast man in a 10-round affair, to be shown live on ESPN+.
The choice of opponent is underwhelming. Promoter Bob Arum is taking no chances with a potential world title opportunity expected for December, probably against WBO featherweight king Oscar Valdez. Dominguez, 25, boasts 26 wins against eight losses and a couple of draws on a sketchy record. Having won his last two, the Aguascalientes man was stopped in three rounds by then-unbeaten prospect Jordan Gill in Nottingham earlier in the year.
Frampton will no doubt use the opportunity to shave off any ring rust while getting his timing on point in anticipation of more significant tests. ESPN will be hoping for a brutal, highlight reel knockout to show across their network. “The Jackal” was last seen losing to Leeds’ Josh Warrington on points in late December. Warrington has since gone on to defend his IBF title successfully against Kid Galahad, as his career continues to ascend.
Meanwhile, Frampton’s MTK stablemate Michael Conlan is now set to face WBC Latino Silver Champion, Diego Alberto Ruiz, after Russian rival Vladimir Nikitin withdrew from their August 3, Falls Park headliner.
“The show goes on. A bigger fight is happening,” said Conlan. “A harder fight is happening. A better performance will happen. My motivation and mindset haven’t changed.
“I’ve got a high-class fighter ranked highly in the world. I’m expecting him to cause me more problems than what Nikitin could have caused me.”
Nikitin controversially defeated Michael Conlan in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Conlan infamously showed his displeasure at the judges and hung up his vest in favour of a crack at the pro game. Since turning over with Top Rank in 2017, he has gone 11-0, with six knockouts. Perhaps the Nikitin bout will be rescheduled; or, more likely, both will move in different directions.
“Maybe, once I’m world champion, I might give Nikitin a shot, but for now I’m moving on because it was more stalling my career than advancing it in terms of the level I’m at.
“Facing a higher level of opponent is better for me. I want to push on towards world titles and big, big fights and I have to start going through the gears now.”