Carl Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs) will attempt to become a three-weight world champion on Saturday when he takes on WBO super featherweight titlist Jamel Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) in Dubai.
Frampton won the IBF super-bantamweight title in 2014 and defended it three times and unified it with the WBA belt before he moved up to featherweight in 2016. At featherweight he split a great pair of fights with Leo Santa Cruz, took the WBA belt in the first fight and relinquished it in the rematch. The other two notable fights were his win over Nonito Donaire and his loss to Josh Warrington, following which he moved up to superfeatherweight.
Herring had a long amateur career in which he qualified for the 2011 world championships and the 2012 Olympic games despite balncing his sporting career with his military career. Following the London games, he turned pro and started his career as a lightweight. He went 16-2 at 135 pounds and decided to move down to superfeatherweigt after losses to Denis Shafikov and Ladarius Miller. He did well at 130, taking the WBO belt from Masayuki Ito and defending it twice. However he contracted COVID in 2020 and didn’t have a great performance in his last defence against Jonathan Oquendo.
Frampton is a very well rounded fighter, equally able to box or pressure an opponent and has fought at a higher level but he will be at a severe size disadvantage as Herring is 5 inches taller and will have a 7 inch reach advantage. Herring isn’t particularly spectacular, he likes to box at range behind his jab and to build up on it either by pairing it with a rear straight or a lead hook. He’s not particularly adept on the inside but is quick to tie up in dicey situations. Were they at size parity, I would pick Frampton without much hesitation but Herring’s size, range and southpaw stance will make things difficult for him. Ultimately, I think Frampton’s quality will prevail, especially with how Herring looked post-COVID but the former marine represents a tough test for an undersized fighter in the last act of his career.
In the co-main event, four-weight world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23 KOs) returns to the ring after an absence of over two years. His opponent Pablo Carillo (25-7-1, 16 KOs) isn’t expected to give him much trouble but Nietes is at an age (38 years old) where he might have fallen off a cliff physically during his absence. If he is still the fighter he was a couple of years ago when he beat , he has the talent to be a factor in a currently excellent super-flyweight and have one last big fight division to cap off a very good career.
A couple of top amateurs at the start of their careers are the highlights of the undercard. 2019 world bronze medalist Tursynbay Kulakhmet looks to climb to 3-0 against Heber Rondon (20-0, 13 KOs). Rondon has a sexy record but 18 of his 20 victims had never won a fight before so he souldn’t prove too much of an obstacle. 2019 silver medalist Keyshawn Davis had a successful pro debut in February and is wasting no time in coming back to the ring. Like Kulakhmet, he’s facing a can crusher in a fight intended for him to log in ring time.
Herring vs. Frampton airs on ESPN+ on Saturday April 3rd at 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT.
Jamel Herring vs. Carl Frampton
Donnie Nietes vs. Pablo Carrillo
Tyrone McKenna vs. Zhankosh Turarov
Heber Rondon vs. Tursynbay Kulakhmet
Richman Ashelley vs. Keyshawn Davis
Faizan Anwar vs. Evgeny Vazem
Suraj vs. Fahad Al-Bloushi