Carl Frampton will take on former four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire in Belfast on April 7.
Frampton is building towards another shot at a world title in the featherweight division and his bout with Donaire will be his second after splitting with Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions and his trainer son Shane earlier this year.
Promoter Frank Warren confirmed Frampton’s opponent at a press conference, screened on BoxNation’s Facebook page, for Billy Joe Saunders’ homecoming following his successful WBO middleweight title defence last weekend.
Warren said: “On 7 April, we’ll be in Belfast where Carl Frampton will be fighting Donaire. It’s a real cracking fight, a good fight for him and we’ll be giving further details in the new year.”
The Northern Irishman was given a stern test by the unheralded Horacio Garcia last month before eking out a points win and will return to the SSE Arena to take on Donaire (38-4, 24KOs).
The 35-year-old Filipino has won world belts in the flyweight, bantamweight, super-bantamweight, and featherweight divisions, and was at one stage rated among the best pound-for-pound fighters.
He has won six of his last seven bouts and will be seen as a tough test even though he is widely considered to be past his peak.
Victory for Frampton (24-1, 14KOs), who suffered his first professional defeat in January when he was beaten by Leo Santa Cruz in their rematch, could set up an opportunity to fight for a world crown at Windsor Park next year.
Two possible opponents are domestic foes Lee Selby and Josh Warrington, who are scheduled to fight for the former’s IBF featherweight title in Leeds next year.
Warren added: “Selby-Warrington is a done deal, that’s signed, and we’ll be announcing a date for that in the next few weeks. It’ll be in Leeds.”
It could be yet another exciting year for boxing.
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