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Carl Frampton vying for successful title defence on home soil

Belfast’s IBF super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton will defend his title against mandatory fighter Chris Avalos, in front of capacity crowd at the Odyssey Arena in his home town on Saturday.

‘The Jackal’, odds-on 1/10 favourite with Coral, will hope to follow up his impressive points-decision victory over Kiko Martinez, which secured him his current coveted crown.

Northern Ireland’s ferocious fighter will contest ‘The Hitman’ Avalos, 6/1 to emerge victorious, in an eagerly-anticipated meeting, with his American opponent having won his last six bouts.

The 25-year-old is relishing the chance to put an end to Avalos’ recent winning streak, claiming the American has been showing a lack of respect in recent weeks.

“He’s been saying a lot of disrespectful things in the build up to this fight. He doesn’t think I’m very good or punch hard,” said Frampton.

“Well, he will be in for a shock on fight night because he will be hit harder than he has ever been and I’m going to knock him out.”

The Northern Irishman suffered some damage to his hand during the conquering of former IBF champion Martinez last September, but he has since returned to full training ahead of schedule.

“I had to take a bit of a break after injuring my hand in the Kiko fight and having to train over Christmas wasn’t nice,” he continued. “I’d have preferred a complete rest but it’s one of those things that had to be done.”

Frampton will be making the maiden defence of his super-bantamweight belt in what will be the first live televised boxing fight for seven years on ITV, with Carl Froch’s win over Jean Pascal in 2008 being the previously broadcast encounter.

Belfast’s ‘Jackal’ has risen to boxing prominence under the watchful eye of coach and legendary fighter Barry McGuigan, after maintaining an impressive unbeaten record of 19 consecutive victories, including a gruelling 12-round bust-up in his previous outing. The rising star of the sport is 13/8 to win by a points decision again this time out.

Mentor McGuigan is confident that his young prodigy can continue down the current path of successive triumphs and dominant performances, beginning with a win over 24-year-old Avalos.

“It’s not just about winning the world title, it’s about winning fights emphatically and making as many defences as we can,” said McGuigan.

“There are potential unification fights to consider too, so there are huge opportunities for Carl.”

Frampton’s Californian opponent stopped Yashutaka Ishimoto in May to earn his mandatory shot at the super-bantamweight title, and has since overcame Jose Cen Torres to improve his career total to 25 victories and only two losses.

However, with only one previous fight outside the States and undefeated Belfast bruiser Frampton holding a huge home advantage, Avalos faces a tough task in Northern Ireland, and is odds-on 8/11 to be knocked out.

Northern Ireland’s in-form puncher will be aiming to make a rapid start on home soil, and is 7/1 to dispatch his opponent within rounds 1-3.

Heading into this much-hyped bout, Frampton and his well-respected manager McGuigan will be aware that a triumph on home soil could possibly open the door to a contest with Britain’s WBA champion Scott Quigg this summer, as the reputation of ‘the Jackal’ grows with each passing fight.