Lee Selby offers Carl Frampton autumn world-title shot
World featherweight champion keen on world title bout in Wales or England
Carl Frampton (left) and Andres Gutierrez during the weigh-in at the Europa Hotel, Belfast. The fight was cancelled after Gutierrez suffered facial injuries in a slip in a hotel shower. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
Carl Frampton looks likely to prioritise a world-title challenge ahead of a rescheduled bout against Andres Gutierrez after Welsh world champion Lee Selby yesterday talked up the possibility of a showdown.
Belfast’s former two-weight world champion Frampton was due to take on 24-year-old Gutierrez at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast last Saturday night before the Mexican suffered a freak accident in his hotel room, leading to a shock cancellation.
Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions have insisted they are working towards rescheduling the fight, but Selby yesterday suggested that Frampton should instead take him on for the IBF version of the world featherweight title in Wales or England.
“We should do it in October or November now,” said Selby. “He should come straight now into a world-title fight against me. It makes sense rather than waiting around [for Gutierrez]. Do they know how long this guy will take to recover? I don’t know.
“I am happy to fight him anywhere they can find a suitable venue,” continued the IBF world champion. “Ideally I’d like the Principality Stadium in Cardiff because it is a stone’s throw away from Barry [his home town].
“Anywhere though . . . If Barry McGuigan is saying that it can be in England then let’s do England. The O2 [Arena, London] or Manchester Arena would be great.”
Frampton’s fight against Gutierrez was due to be an eliminator for the WBC version of the world title last Saturday night, but the Belfast man came in one pound over the 126lb weight limit at Friday’s weigh-in.
Financial purse compensation for Gutierrez had been agreed in order to allow the bout to progress before the Mexican later suffered a bizarre accident, slipping in his hotel-room shower, which resulted in cuts to his chin and nose while he also lost two teeth in the fall.
Medics would not allow the 24-year-old to fight on Saturday, forcing Cyclone to postpone the bout.
Gutierrez has insisted that he will be ready for a November date should the fight be rescheduled, but Frampton yesterday claimed he wants to change tack.
“I have to fight again before Christmas and I want to go straight for the world title . . . and then come back to Belfast to defend it,” said Frampton, who had been due to fight in his home town for the first time in two-and-half years last Saturday.
“I want a world-title fight next and I have to make sure that I am mentally, totally focused on the job, because when I am then I have no issues with weight,” added Frampton in his Sunday Life newspaper column.
Conspiracy theorists were out in force on social media over the weekend, suggesting the bout had been cancelled in suspicious circumstances. Both Frampton and Cyclone vehemently denied such allegations, while pictures and TV footage of Gutierrez’s injuries clearly showed that the Mexican was badly injured.
Cyclone are also likely to suffer a financial blow from the show’s cancellation, depending on insurance outcomes.
But news that Frampton had resigned his position as a Cyclone director only last week added fuel to the speculation that the 30-year-old was not enthusiastic about the prospect of fighting Gutierrez after a previously mooted summer world-title fight at Windsor Park failed to transpire.
“I don’t think my mind was on my game in camp as much as it should have been,” admitted Frampton, referencing his weight woes. “Maybe it was because I was annoyed that we couldn’t get my homecoming fight at Windsor Park in Belfast, and no disrespect to Andres Gutierrez, it wasn’t the same [motivation] as fighting for a world title.”
However, the Belfast native dismissed social-media conspiracy theories over the fight cancellation.
“The problem is that somebody writes nonsense . . . and it just snowballs into conspiracy theories and fake news,” insisted Frampton, who also remains keen on a grudge fight against WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz after suffering his first pro defeat to the Mexican-American in Las Vegas last January.
Cyclone have encouraged fans to hold on to their tickets for Saturday’s postponed Belfast bill, pending news on a potential rescheduled date. Information on ticket refunds is expected to be released this week.