Carl Frampton beats Horacio Garcia on points on return to ring

Yaa, Heather Agyepong, 2017 (Courtesy of Artist/ Tate Exchange)
Frampton was given a stern test by his former sparring partner on his return to the ring

Carl Frampton secured a hard-fought points win over Mexican Horacio Garcia at the SSE Arena on his return to the ring after 10 months out of action.

The Belfast boxer was made to battle all the way but was awarded a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards.

The two-weight world champion was fighting for the first time since his split from Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions during the summer.

It was also his first contest since losing his WBA title to Leo Santa Cruz.

The bout was fought at a frantic pace but Frampton emerged victorious to clinch a 24th win from his 25 professional contests.

The Northern Irishman is now under the management of Frank Warren and had trainer Jamie Moore in his corner for the first time but was provided with a stern test as he attempts to get back into contention for a world title.

Frampton, fighting in his native city for the first time in almost three years, was awarded the victory 98-93, 97-93 and 96-93 by the three judges.

Garcia, 27, suffered a fourth defeat of his career but put up a gutsy performance as he absorbed some hard shots from his former sparring partner in his first fight outside Europe.

Frampton was forced to take a count from referee Victor Loughlin in the seventh round despite having appeared to lose his balance.

Frampton was forced to take a count in the seventh round after appearing to lose his balance

Belfast title fight the target

The 30-year-old is now set to fight again in the spring, before targeting a long-awaited world title fight at Windsor Park in Belfast next summer.

“It was a good fight for the fans. I boxed well for the first few rounds but then got myself caught up in a fight,” said Frampton.

“I wanted a hard fight for my comeback and that’s what I got. The rust is off, the cobwebs are gone and now I want to fight one of the big guys.”

Frampton had lost his WBA featherweight belt to Santa Cruz in Las Vegas last January as the Mexican avenged his defeat of six months earlier.

That reverse ended Frampton’s perfect professional career record, which included winning both the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles following wins over Kiko Martinez and Scott Quigg.

Last July, Frampton’s planned return to the ring unravelled in dramatic fashion as his scheduled opponent, another Mexican Andres Gutierrez, injured himself while slipping in the shower the evening before the fight,

Hours earlier, Frampton had failed to make the featherweight limit for the bout, although the contest was still scheduled to go ahead despite the weight mishap.

Within a couple of weeks, Frampton’s split with long-time promoter and manager McGuigan was revealed.

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