Ahead of his WBO Interim Featherweight title fight with Filipino boxing legend Nonito Donaire, Carl Frampton says he is feeling better than ever after changing camps and putting external distractions behind him.
In an interview with Behind the Gloves, the former two weight world champion said “I’m happier than I’ve ever been as a boxer. I haven’t felt this good in so long, maybe since I was 11 or 12 years old.”
Frampton says making a fresh start with new trainer Jamie Moore and Assistant Trainer Nigel Travis has made a huge difference.
“I’m just happy, there’s good camaraderie in the gym and we all bounce off each other and it’s the only time as a professional that I’ve gotten up in the morning, had a cup of coffee and some breakfast and looked forward to going to the gym,” he says.
“I think it was just the change, you know, being around Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis and there’s some big characters in this gym and I think relocating to Manchester has been better for me,” Frampton says.
He admits that he will need to improve on his last performance against Horacio Garcia to beat Donaire, but says his preparations for that fight were far from ideal.
“Obviously I got tired in the Garcia fight, but it was a short camp. I normally have at least a 12 week camp so we were 5 weeks away from a perfect camp for me,” he says.
He still feels that he can take some positives from the fight though as he managed to beat the tough Mexican despite facing a number of external distractions leading up to the fight.
“I won the fight and I think that considering all the things that were going on in the background, a complete overhaul of my team, new trainers, a new advisory capacity and promoter in Frank Warren and a new channel. Everything was new,” says Frampton.
The Northern Irishman says his ongoing legal battle with former promoter and Irish Boxing legend Barry McGuigan also affected him.
“Obviously there’s other things going on as well, pending court cases for example, so it probably wasn’t ideal, but I got the job done and I think if you look at what I was doing in the first sort of four rounds, it was some of the best stuff I’ve ever done in the ring,” he says.
Garcia’s durability was also a factor according to Frampton, who says “I controlled the fight and he’s just a big lump Garcia, he kept coming, I hit him with some big shots and he just shook them off and walked forward and I got tired.”
“But I stuck it out, won the fight and I know I’ll be better against Donaire,” Frampton says.
Frampton has a great deal of respect for Doniare and says “he’s a very good fighter, I think in terms of accolades in the ring he’s accomplished more than anyone I’ve ever fought.”
“He’s a four weight world champion and I think he was as high as No. 3 in the pound for pound rankings at one point,” he says.
The Belfast man is all too aware of the Filipino’s skills and knockout power and feels he is the type of fighter that can get the best out of him.
“He’s a dangerous fighter and that’s something that excites me, but it makes me nervous as well,” Frampton says.
“I think the nerves that I’m going into the fight with are a good thing because if you can control them, which I believe I can, then I can use them to my advantage,” he says.
“I think I’ll be switched on from start to finish and I’ll have to be because I think Donaire is a very good fighter,” says Frampton.
Frampton says Donaire has been on his radar for some time because there was speculation that they would fight back when he was the Super-Bantamweight champion in 2014.
“We’ve been linked for a long time now. I believed I could beat him then and I believe it even more so now. In this frame of mind and how I’m feeling, I think that I win the fight and win it in style,” says Frampton.
He’ll get his chance this Saturday.
Ciaran O’Mahony is a freelance writer and boxing fanatic based in Melbourne, Australia. View more of his work at ciaranomahony.com.