Fans and media alike gathered for a packed press conference at the Europa Hotel in Belfast before world-class featherweights Carl Frampton (23-1-0) and Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1) face off in front of a sell-out 9,000 capacity crowd at the SSE Arena Belfast, live and exclusively on Channel 5.
Both men were in an upbeat mood ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster showdown, which serves as an eliminator for the WBC world featherweight title currently held by Gary Russell Jr.
CARL FRAMPTON: “I’ve spoken so many times about the atmosphere in the Odyssey Arena. I don’t think it can be created anywhere else in the world, and even in bigger stadiums… It just isn’t the same. It certainly has a positive effect on me, and I think it may have a negative effect on my opponent.
“I respect Andres Gutierrez, and he’s a top fighter. If he beats me, he becomes a big name in boxing. It’s up to me to not let that happen. I respect him, but this is my city, I’m the boss, and I’m going to win.”
ANDRES GUTIERREZ: “We’re ready for this fight. I trained for one month at high altitude, then did another month in Mexico City. Now, because of this, I’m confident of winning this fight. All of this training has brought me to this point, and I’m feeling good.”
BARRY MCGUIGAN: “We’re very much looking forward to Saturday night, and it’ll be a tremendous fight. Gutierrez is someone we have a great deal of respect for. He’s a great fighter and a great puncher, which is exactly the kind of guy we needed for Carl’s homecoming. This guy will give him a lot of trouble, but I believe Carl will win, and win spectacularly.”
SHANE MCGUIGAN: “This is a different dynamic coming back from a loss, but Carl has definitely got the bit between his teeth. He’s got to beat Andres Gutierrez to get back to the top, and he’s craving the big fights. The hunger’s back, and I don’t believe Andres Gutierrez is on the same level as Carl Frampton.”
JORGE BARRERA: “The reception we’ve been given is fantastic, but Andres is ready for the fight. He’s been training very hard, and he’s ready to win on Saturday night.”
Saturday’s main event is also supported by an undercard stacked with talent from top to bottom. Exciting prospect Chantelle Cameron faces Serbia’s teak-tough Jasmina Nad, as she looks to make it three wins in three different cities after a flawless start to her professional career.
Also on the card is the newly crowned WBO European middleweight champion Conrad Cummings, who faces the experienced Robert Swierzbinski in his first title defence. Challenger Swierzbinski has shared the ring with the likes of Chris Eubank Jr, Tommy Langford and David Lemieux.
Local favourite Paddy Gallagher faces a step into the unknown against the Swiss based Brazilian southpaw Ricardo Silva, as the pair square off for the vacant IBO Continental welterweight title. Silva has won 14 of his 15 professional contests, and will be looking to upset the odds by claiming the IBO strap in Gallagher’s backyard.
Elsewhere on the card, the hard-hitting Malik Zinad faces former African champion Farouk Daku in a six-round contest, with fellow light-heavyweights Steven Ward and Josip Perkovic squaring off over the same distance. Local prospects Lewis Crocker and Padraig McCrory also feature, as Crocker looks to make it three pro wins from three against Sylwester Walczak, and McCrory goes for his second pro victory against Norbert Szekeres of Hungary.
The scene is set for an action-packed encounter between two of the best featherweights in the world on Saturday night in Belfast, and you can follow all of the build-up on our Twitter handle – @CyclonePromo; and/or our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/CyclonePromotions.
CHANTELLE CAMERON: “I’ve enjoyed the start of this pro journey, and it’s good to be keeping so active. Fight week has been great here in Belfast, and hopefully I can put on a show for everyone in the arena and at home on Saturday night.”
CONRAD CUMMINGS: “It’s amazing to be home. I’m just enjoying the build-up – it’s been amazing with the best supporters in the world. I’m coming home a champion, and I’m looking forward to being back this weekend. I’m going to beat this guy, and I’m going to beat him well.”
PADDY GALLAGHER: “I’m feeling good. Hopefully after Saturday, I’ll have my own title and I’ll be a bigger name. I want to attract big fights and headline shows, just like Carl is doing on Saturday. It’s a hard fight for me. He’s a bit taller, he’s younger and he’s got a far better record. He’s only lost once, but I will win, and I’ll do some damage.”