Frampton-Jackson, Fury-Pianeta Preview

In Belfast on Saturday, Aug. 18, two well-known fighters will look to carve their way through planned paths back to world championships, while another two look to pull off unlikely upsets.

In the main event, Carl Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs) defends his interim WBO Featherweight Title, as he takes on Luke Jackson (16-0, 7 KOs). As part of the undercard, former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) looks to continue the road back he started, as he faces Francesco Pianeta (28-4-1, 21 KOs). A victory will reportedly guarantee Fury the right to challenge Deontay Wilder for the WBC Heavyweight Title in November or December.

Frampton is often considered one of the best active boxers, both in the U.K. and the world over. A former IBF super bantamweight champion and WBA featherweight champion, Frampton was unbeaten in 23 professional bouts between 2009 and 2016. But in January 2017, after defeating Leo Santa Cruz just six months earlier, he suffered his first loss as a pro when he dropped the WBA Title to Santa Cruz via majority decision.

Since the loss, Frampton rebounded with a November 2017 win over Horacio García before claiming the interim WBO gold with a win over Nonito Donaire back in April. With a win, Frampton plans on facing either Josh Warrington or Oscar Valdez in an attempt to gain more featherweight gold. Frampton feels this plan will put him in a good spot for the chance at a trilogy bout with Santa Cruz and the chance to avenge the sole loss of his career.

Jackson has the reach and height advantages for the bout, but many are doubting him due to his lack of experience. Frampton is 31 and has had 26 professional fights, but Jackson has just 16 and is already at 33 years old. Jackson knows the odds are against him, but refuses to let that or the hostile environment he expects from the crowd get to his head. A win would result in a big upset in boxing and have him join the ranks of those Australian boxers that managed to win gold.

“I’ve come from nothing and there’s a lot I’ve had to deal with in my life to get to this position,” Jackson said at a press conference earlier this week. “I’m very proud of myself to be here.”

In the co-main event, Fury will have the opportunity to take the next step towards reclaiming heavyweight gold he once held. Fury was previously the WBA/WBO/IBF/IBO unified champion after upsetting Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, but he was stripped of the IBF title 10 days later after being unable to face their mandatory challenger. He then forfeited the rest of the gold in late 2016 after testing positive for cocaine and battling depression.

Fury’s return to the ring took place a couple of months ago when he defeated Sefer Seferi via retirement at the end of the fourth round. The bout was criticized for lack of explosive action, and Fury has promised a more respectable performance this time around. He’ll look to show off the power and skill he previously possessed, and a win is expected to result in the announcement of a WBC title shot against Deontay Wilder later this year.

The Italian Pianeta started his career 28-0-1, holding the European Union Heavyweight Title at one point, but he suffered his first pro loss in 2013 with a failed title challenge against the younger Klitschko brother. Since then, Pianeta has struggled when it comes to trying to capture major heavyweight gold, losing a WBA (Regular) title bout in July 2015. He won the IBO International Heavyweight Title in July 2017 but dropped the title in his first defense just three months later.

For Pianeta, this may be a make-or-break encounter. And while a loss may very well end hopes at major gold anytime soon, a win will send shockwaves throughout the boxing community.

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