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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Frampton to be pushed to limits

Dangerous Gutierrez warns 'Jackal' their Belfast bout will be a war

Carl Frampton (left) and Andreas Gutierrez get acquainted with each other. Pic: Sportsfile
Carl Frampton (left) and Andreas Gutierrez get acquainted with each other. Pic: Sportsfile

Having won the WBA super world featherweight title against Leo Santa Cruz in Brooklyn last July, Carl Frampton was on the wrong end of a majority decision in the rematch in Las Vegas in January.

Hopes that he might entertain the Mexican champion in Belfast for a deciding third bout were dashed when Santa Cruz was reluctant to travel to Frampton's den.

A former world champion at two weights, the 'Jackal' is now an attraction in the USA.

While he and manager Barry McGuigan plan their next major international move, Frampton has been anxious to reward his travelling supporters with a fight in Belfast.

"Before our last fight Santa Cruz was definitely coming to Belfast," says Frampton. "But, after that fight, he quickly changed his mind. I understand. The money he gets in the States would mean that this would need to be a PPV fight and there were no dates available here."

Instead of Santa Cruz, Frampton will face another formidable Mexican - Andreas Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs), a former WBC silver super-bantamweight champion.

"The story I'm hearing is that Leo Santa Cruz didn't want to fight Andreas when he was super-bantamweight," says Frampton.

"I was actually close to fighting Gutierrez when I fought in El Paso. The performance I had that night, who knows what would have happened if I had fought him. But it's happening now. Both of us have improved since then so it's going to make for a very good fight."

Frampton's first fight in the US was in July, 2015 when he beat Alejandro Gonzalez Jr on a unanimous decision but not before he was knocked down twice in the first round.

Gonzalez Jr was later killed in a gangland shooting in Mexico that has been described as an "execution".

Gutierrez will be the fourth Mexican fighter Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) has faced.

In 2012 he beat Raul Hirales in Nottingham to claim the IBF inter-continental super-bantamweight title.

Two years later, he stopped Hugo Fidel Cazares in the second round in Belfast.

Gutierrez, who fights Frampton in the SSE Arena in Belfast on July 29, says: "I'm looking for a war with Frampton so that people can see what I'm made of. I'm going to give everything in Belfast."

Working with his new manager Jorge Barrera, Gutierrez is in a confident mood.

"I've always wanted to fight Carl Frampton," he says. "Nobody wants to fight me but Carl Frampton has decided to fight me and I am very excited. This is my opportunity now and I'm going to show everybody that I'm capable of beating Frampton."

Boxing since he was a child, Gutierrez looks remarkably unscarred.

"The place I grew up is very tough so I started fighting when I was five years old so I could defend myself," he says.

"The people I've fought before have never been able to punch me on the face very much. Let's see what Carl Frampton can do."

With just one loss in 37 fights, the Mexican is anxious to get a world title shot.

"Nobody wants to fight me," he complains. "I won't get offered a world title fight but I want one and I'm going to fight for it."

Gutierrez is just 23. "I know I'm young but I'm very experienced," he says. "And I'm going to surprise everyone."

Frampton isn't expecting an easy night.

"I wanted to fight at home but I wanted a hard fight," he says. "I didn't want to mug the fans off and go in against a nobody. I wanted a tough fight. I know I need to be at my best. I know that if I'm not at my best, I'll lose this fight."

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