By Jack Sumner @Jack_Sumner_
Carl Frampton returns to the stronghold that is the Odyssey Arena in Belfast this Saturday, when he makes the first defence of his EBU super bantamweight title against Frenchman Jeremy Parodi in a battle that also acts as an IBF world title eliminator. Additional seating has been added to a sold out capacity for what is set to be the biggest boxing event in the history of the venue, no mean feat considering the impassioned home support that ‘The Jackal’ has received there in his last two appearances.
Former two-time world champion Steve Molitor was blasted in six rounds last September, before tough Spaniard Kiko Martinez was put to the sword in front of a charged atmosphere in February. It’s been a frustrating year for the Ulsterman since, with promotional issues delaying a return to the ring until now, but with a win against Parodi, Frampton (16-0, 11 KO’s) can set up a major 2014.
A shot at the IBF crown could come in a return bout with Martinez, as Kiko went on to dethrone Jonathan Romero with a shock stoppage victory in August. Martinez, who suffered his first knockout defeat against Frampton, is scheduled to defend against Jeffrey Mathebula in December, with the winner obliged to face Frampton early next year should he come through this test.
Parodi (35-1-1, 9 KO’s) arrives on Northern Irish shores with intentions of own though of course and comes with an impressive-looking ledger and vastly more professional experience than the man from Tiger’s Bay. A closer look at his resumé however, reveals the Toulon native has fought almost exclusively in his hometown and against sub-par opposition compared to what he’ll be faced with on Saturday evening.
With only nine of his thirty-seven opponents being stopped, a scant 24% knockout percentage doesn’t bode well for Parodi’s power either or his hopes of being able to hold a relentless Frampton off. The gulf in punching power could well be significant on Saturday night and it’s not as though Frampton has deficiencies in other areas. Belfast, get ready to see ‘Frampton Come Alive’.