Carl Frampton returned to championship form with one of the biggest win of his career.
Frampton defeated former world champion Nonito Donaire at the SSE Arena in Frampton’s home country of Northern Ireland. The fight saw Frampton pick up the interim WBO featherweight title by unanimous decision (117-111, 117-111, 117-111).
The bout started with Frampton connecting strong left jabs to Donaire’s left eye, causing it to swell in the early rounds. Donaire was overmatched by the younger and sharper Frampton, but Donaire did not give up, even when it seemed like the fight might have been stopped.
Donaire did manage to scare Frampton and the pro-Frampton crowd at the SSE Arena at times, especially late in the fight. Donaire’s best moments of offense came towards the end of the 11th round where Donaire landed a strong left hook to Frampton’s jaw and seemed stunned by the punch for only a brief moment. When the fight ended, both men embraced in a strong showing of sportsmanship as it became abundantly clear that Frampton would emerge victorious.
The win over Donaire not only gave Frampton the interim WBO title, but also likely landed him a fight against WBO champion Oscar Valdez, who is currently injured with a fractured jaw. Frampton previously held the WBA featherweight title in 2016 when he scored the biggest win of his career when he managed to get a majority decision victory over Leo Santa Cruz. Frampton lost the title in the rematch last year, but bounced back with a win over Horacio Garcia last November.
Donaire, a four-division world champion, has now lost two of his last three fights. Donaire signed with promoter Richard Schaefer last year in order to recapture a world title, but the loss will set those plans back. Donaire, who is 35 years old, has been boxing professionally since 2001.