|Sportsound: International Boxing|
|Date: Saturday, 18 November Coverage: Live on Radio Ulster and BBC Sport NI website from 21:30 GMT|
Carl Frampton says an “explosive” display in his comeback bout in Belfast on Saturday will set up his return to the world title stage in 2018.
The former two-weight world champion faces Mexican Horacio Garcia in his first fight since his summer split with Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions.
Frampton, 30, is convinced he will be the first man to stop Garcia, 27.
“I believe I can get rid of this guy,” said Frampton, who has moved to Frank Warren’s promotional stable.
“It needs to be a good performance. It can’t be lacklustre. I need to win but the most important thing is that I am explosive.”
Frampton is targeting a long-desired world title contest at Windsor Park in his native Belfast next summer although he expects to fight in advance of that in the spring.
“Windsor Park has been booked for a few dates [next summer] although obviously things can change from now to then,” fanatical Northern Ireland football supporter Frampton told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.
Frampton’s first bout since Santa Cruz defeat
Saturday’s bout at the SSE Arena will be Frampton’s first contest since he lost his WBA featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas last January as the Mexican avenged his defeat by the Northern Irishman six months earlier.
That reverse ended Frampton’s perfect run of 23 wins, which included clinching both the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles following wins over Kiko Martinez and Scott Quigg.
Last July, Frampton’s plan to return to the ring unravelled in dramatic fashion as his scheduled opponent, another Mexican Andres Gutierrez, injured himself while slipping in his shower on 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 his weight mishap.
Within a couple of weeks, Frampton’s split with long-time promoter and manager McGuigan was revealed which led to a bidding war for the Belfast man’s services eventually won by Warren.
“It hasn’t been an easy year. I’m not going to tell lies,” admitted the North Belfast man.
“A lot of big changes have happened. I’m an emotional person but I have a strong family around me and they have given me good advice.”
Jamie Moore now training Frampton
That included his father Craig suggesting former European light-middleweight champion Jamie Moore as a possible new trainer after his split from Cyclone Promotions meant he would no longer be working with Barry McGuigan’s son Shane.
“I had a couple of coaches in my head but my father suggested Jamie Moore and he was the first one I tried and it just felt good,” added Frampton.
Moore’s approach has included reducing Frampton’s punishing sparring regime which extended to 220 rounds prior to previous bouts.
“I liked Jamie’s ideas about training and in particular, how I should be training and sparring at this stage of my career.
“I was sparring with big guys a lot of the times. Sometimes for a camp, it was 220 rounds. That’s an excessive amount and although I do enjoy enjoy sparring there is only so much you can take.”
As he makes his return to the ring, Frampton insists there will be no repeat of the summer debacle which led to the late fight cancellation.
“The whole situation was bad. Me missing the weight didn’t look good and it just went from bad to worse when he fell in the shower.
“I am a featherweight. I should have made the weight but I was too far from the weight in the final week and gave myself too much to do.
“This time, there is not going to be any issue with weight. I can promise everyone that.”
Garcia has lost three of his 37 pro bouts including a defeat by Japan’s former world champion Hozumi Hasegawa.
His losses also include a points defeat by highly-rated Joseph Diaz last December and a reverse in July against compatriot Diuhl Olguin which he avenged two months later in a stoppage win.
Saturday’s bill includes Belfast man Jamie Conlan’s IBF super-flyweight challenge against Filipino southpaw Jerwin Ancajas while twice Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes also fights on the undercard.