Carl Frampton says he expects to make a first defence his super-bantamweight world title, against American Chris Avalos, early in 2015, writes John Gillespie.
And The Jackal, who defeated Spain’s Kiko Martinez to get his hands on the IBF belt in September, is confident he has what it takes to see off the 25-year-old from California.
Speaking exclusively to the Newtownabbey Times at Monkstown Amateur Boxing Club, he said: “It should be the end of February, early March, that sort of time. We’ll know very, very soon. Hopefully we’ll have something confirmed before Christmas.
“We’re looking at a guy called Chris Avalos - he’s the mandatory. I know they are negotiating with his team at the minute, so I’m confident that I can beat him. I’m confident that I can beat anyone in the super-bantamweight division.
“Avalos is a good fighter. He’s tough, very aggressive ... but I think I have the tools to deal with him.”
Reflecting on 2014 and the challenge ahead in the New Year, the former Glengormley High pupil added: “It’s been a great year. I’ve won a world title and I’ve just had a baby boy as well, so it’s been fantastic.
“People ask me how it feels to be world champion. To be honest, it feels exactly the same. It was an amazing achievement; I felt on top of the world straight after it, but now I know its about defending the title and keeping hold of it for a while.
“I’ve done, I wouldn’t say the easy part, but the easier part. I’ve won the title and now it’s time to defend it. It’s going to be difficult, but I’ll be more than ready.”