Northern Ireland boxer Carl Frampton says defeat will not be an option against unbeaten American Tyler McCreary in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Frampton, 32, faces his first bout since losing an IBF world featherweight title challenge against England’s Josh Warrington last December.
“It’s a must-win. I want to fight for a world title in my next fight so I must beat Tyler McCreary,” he said.
McCreary is 11th in the WBA lightweight rankings after 17 unbeaten contests.
That is two places higher than Frampton’s fellow Belfast fighter James Tennyson in the WBA lightweight list although McCreary was previously ranked fifth in the governing body’s featherweight ratings.
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McCreary, 26, drew with Mexican journeyman Roberto Castaneda in March before edging a split decision in July against Filipino Jessie Cris Rosales, who had been stopped by WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson back in January.
While Frampton’s connections having been talking up the Ohio-based boxer’s credentials, the Northern Irishman should prove too good for the American.
Frampton aims to regroup after ‘horrible year’
Frampton will be looking for an emphatic victory after what he has described as a “horrible year”.
His legal battle with ex-manager Barry McGuigan is scheduled to continue in the Belfast High Court in the New Year. The fighter is suing his former mentor, his wife Sandra McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions (UK) Ltd over an alleged failure to pay purse money from his bouts.
The McGuigan family-run Cyclone Promotions issued a writ in London which formed the basis of a counter-claim against Frampton.
Back in August, Frampton was scheduled to return to the ring against Emmanuel Dominguez in Philadelphia before a freak accident – when a large ornament was knocked over in a hotel – led to him pulling out with a broken hand.
“I’ve had some huge fights in my career. No matter who the opponent is, it is always going to be the biggest fight because of the situation I’m in now,” said Frampton in Las Vegas.
“He thinks I have been overlooking him. Maybe that gives him some comfort and encouragement. But I have been treating this fight as if it is a world title fight.”
It will be Frampton’s first appearance in the United States since January 2017, when he suffered his first career defeat as Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz reclaimed the WBA featherweight crown with a majority decision at the MGM Grand.
However, the Belfast fighter is confident victory on Saturday will set him on the road to becoming Ireland’s first three-weight world champion after his previous super-bantamweight and featherweight title triumphs.
“Ireland has a rich history in boxing champions,” he said. “We’ve produced so many great fighters.
“But to be the guy on top and be the first and only guy to win three titles in three different divisions, it would mean the world to me.”
McCreary’s four-inch height advantage was noticeable during Friday evening’s weigh-in as Frampton came in at 128lbs.
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However, Frampton will believe that his boxing skills should be enough to overcome the 26-year-old.
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