Former two-division titleholder Carl Frampton has signed a co-promotional deal with Top Rank, meaning his fights going forward will air on ESPN networks in the United States.
Frampton (26-2, 15 KO) has won titles at 122 and 126 pounds, and is also a former European and Commonwealth champion at 122. He won the Commonwealth title back in 2011, and took the European title from Kiko Martinez in 2013.
He really broke through in 2014, beating Martinez again, this time for the IBF super bantamweight belt. He made successful defenses against Chris Avalos and Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, and sealed the run with a unification win over WBA “super world” titleholder Scott Quigg in 2016 in Manchester.
Frampton moved up to 126 after that, beating Leo Santa Cruz to win the WBA “world” title five months later in 2016. He lost the immediate rematch to Santa Cruz in Jan. 2017.
Since losing the belt back to Santa Cruz, Frampton has been a bit more up-and-down. He wasn’t great in a win over Horacio Garcia, but then scored clear victories over Nonito Donaire and Luke Jackson. This past December, he challenged Josh Warrington for the IBF belt, with Warrington winning a decision.
Frampton, now 32, says he’s still looking to win a world title again, and has his eyes on Oscar Valdez and the WBO featherweight belt:
“It’s an honor for me to be teaming up with Top Rank for what will be the last chapter of my career. t also makes a fight, at some point in the future, with WBO champion Oscar Valdez a real possibility. My goal, at this stage of my career, is still to become a world champion, and I feel I’ll reach my goal with MTK and Bob Arum’s Top Rank in my corner.”
Frampton is now co-promoted by Top Rank and Frank Warren.
It’ll be no easy task to win another world title — Valdez is younger, fresher, and a tough guy to fight, and Frampton looked a bit past his best days in that loss to Warrington. But with the way everyone’s TV deals in the U.S. are structured at this point, every scrap of even remotely noteworthy talent is attractive to promoters, and Frampton is definitely still more than “remotely noteworthy.” Top Rank’s Valdez will need opponents, and at the very least, Frampton is a guy who can credibly fit that bill.