The first high-profile world title fight in the UK since boxing returned after the latest pandemic lockdown will be rescheduled by a month
Carl Frampton’s historic bid to become the first Irishman to hold world titles in three weight divisions has been delayed after the Belfast fighter suffered a hand injury in training for his WBO super-featherweight title fight against incumbent champion Jamel Herring.
Herring was due to fly into the UK from his training camp in Colorado Springs this coming Friday for the scheduled bout a week on Saturday (Feb 27) at the Copper Box on the Olympic Park in Stratford, but the first high-profile world title fight in the UK since boxing returned after the latest coronavirus pandemic lockdown will be rescheduled by a month.
Promoter Frank Warren told Telegraph Sport that “unfortunately the contest will have to be rescheduled – we are expecting it to be on March 27 now.”
It is yet a further delay for a seemingly jinxed fight after Herring and Frampton were in the ring together after Frampton’s triumph over Tyler McCreary in Las Vegas in November 2019. Since then the meeting of the ‘Fighting Marine’ – Herring, a New Jersey native, completed two tours of duty in Iraq with the US Marines – and former two-weight world champion Frampton – who has held titles at super bantamweight and featherweight – has been delayed by the Covid pandemic and the American suffering a cut in defence of his title against Jonathan Oquendo last summer.
Indeed, the Herring vs Oquendo fight, scheduled to take place in Bob Arum’s boxing bubble in Las Vegas, was delayed twice due to positive Covid tests.
Herring, who tweeted that he “would never kick a man when he is down”, told Telegraph Sport in an interview this week that due to the delays to his world title defence last year, he now suffers from a type of “Covid paranoia”. “Oh the delays last year definitely affected me,” said the 35 year-old. “To the point where I would watch shows and ask why they’re not wearing masks. No one on my team has got sick, thank God, this time round. Last year people forget I was in like a five, six-month training camp because it kept getting postponed. And then I tried to fight through a camp with Covid as well and it was just a rough year for me. I think that’s why I’m so much in a good space now. I feel I’ve been through the worst.”
“I don’t want to even look at a test, I’ve taken so many as it is,” added the fighter, who is open about the PTSD he has suffered from being at war as a serviceman. “But for this fight I’ll do whatever I have to do to get there. I’ve got plenty of masks, a whole wardrobe of masks now. I’m definitely going to do whatever I have to, to get there and come home healthy.”
On Frampton’s last opportunity, at 34, to win another world title in a third weight class, Herring said: “I know for him as a fighter, he has his back against the wall. It’s his last opportunity and he wants to make history. Of course you’ve got to expect the best performance he could possibly put up. But at the same time I have a lot of goals and dreams that I still want to accomplish. I have to win this fight, I’m taking this fight very seriously. We’ll have to see what it comes down to but I’m definitely prepared for whatever he throws at me.”