CARL FRAMPTON has lit the fuse ahead of December’s world title showdown with Josh Warrington, insisting he has already beaten better fighters than the defending Leeds world champion.
Warrington will make the first defence of his IBF featherweight world title belt at Manchester Arena on Saturday, December 22 against WBO interim featherweight champion Frampton who is ranked the world’s no 1 boxer at the weight.
Frampton has been world champion at two different weights, becoming IBF world super bantamweight champion when defeating Kiko Martinez in September 2014 and defending the title with victories against Chris Avalos and Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. He then unified the belt with the WBA crown in defeating Scott Quigg in February 2016.
Following that win, Frampton stepped up to featherweight to defeat Leo Santa Cruz and become WBA champion in July 2016 but then lost the rematch against Santa Cruz in January.
The Northern Irishman has since recorded victories against Horacio Garcia, Nonito Donaire and Luke Jackson with Frampton taking the interim WBO featherweight belt with his defeat of Donaire.
Now 31, Frampton says he was written off following his defeat to Santa Cruz but the Belfast-born boxer says he is better than ever and now facing a fighter in Warrington who is not as strong as some of the boxers he has already defeated in his 27-fight career.
“This will be the sweetest world title because I have been written off,” said Frampton.
“After the Santa Cruz defeat, people were instantly saying ‘you are done, you are finished’ but I got beat by a very good fighter on an under par performance in a close fight.
“I came back and had a fight with Horatio Garcia and I got pushed a little bit harder than a lot of people were expecting but I had just changed teams, had a short training camp and a lot of these things played a factor in that. But in the last few fights, and against Donaire and Luke Jackson, I don’t feel like I have got out of first gear.
“I haven’t really been breathing and I have just kind of done what I wanted in those fights so I genuinely believe I am back to my best.
Without sounding disrespectful, I feel like I’ve beaten better fighters than Josh already and I think that’s going to be the difference.Carl Frampton
“I understand that Josh isn’t Donaire or he isn’t Luke Jackson and this is a tougher fight, I am expecting a tougher fight.
“Josh is full of confidence at the minute.
“He’s bigger than those guys and I think that he is stronger than those guys, he throws a lot more and his work rate is a lot more intense.
“I think it is going to be a much tougher fight but I believe I am a better fighter and I believe I am going to prove it on the night.
“Without sounding disrespectful, I feel like I’ve beaten better fighters than Josh already and I think that’s going to be the difference.”
Leeds’s Warrington himself remains unbeaten with the 27-year-old upsetting the odds to become IBF featherweight champion when defeating hot favourite Lee Selby at Elland Road back in May.
Responding to Frampton’s comments, Warrington said: “This is why we have the fights, to end that discussion and that debate. There’s no point talking about it too much, we are fighting and on December 22 we will see who is the best.”