The Friday Faceup

The weekly feature looking at the fight weekend ahead.

The Bantams are back

WBO Champion Zolani Tete – photo courtesy of World Boxing Super Series

Just over three weeks ago in Saitama, Japan we saw fight of the year contender Naoya Inoue v Nonito Donaire for the World Boxing Super Series title and Muhammad Ali Trophy in the bantamweight 118lb/8st 6lbs division.

This Saturday (November 30th) in Birmingham, England ‘the other’ bantamweight champion Zolani Tete will face Filipino puncher John Riel Casimero in defence of his WBO title in a Frank Warren Queensberry Promotion billed ‘Midlands Mayhem’ and shown live on BT Sport.

Earlier in the year the South African Tete 28-3-0 (21 KO’s) pulled out of the WBSS at the semi-final stage due to an injured right shoulder. His prospective opponent Nonito Donaire went on to excel in the final but Tete was favourite to win their fight should they have met.

Tete rightly feels he’s more than a match for the new golden boy of the division and Ali Trophy winner Inoue. Although he’s supremely confident of having Inoue’s number he must first navigate Casimero, a former IBF light-fly and flyweight world champion.

Tete coming off a long layoff (last bout October 2018) should come through but unless he stops Casimero 28-4-0 (19 KO’s) early, as his explosiveness has shown in the past, he may have to go through some difficult moments to prevail. Expect a late Tete victory.

Frampton’s fire still burns

Carl Frampton – photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

Former WBA and IBF world featherweight champion Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton 26-2-0 (15 KO’s) returns to the ring in a 128lb/9st 2lbs ‘catchweight’ contest against American Tyler McCreary 16-0-1 (7 KO’s) in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning (GMT).

The Irishman, 32, now closer to the end of his career seeks big money matches at the elite level to cash in on an excellent career which saw him named Ring magazine Fighter of the Year in 2016. Top of the list is a ‘rubber match’ with old foe Leo Santa Cruz whom he shared two fantastic fights with as a featherweight at 122lb/9st . The title changing hands on both occasions.

Santa Cruz captured the vacant WBA super-featherweight title last weekend which adds spice to a third defining fight. The Mexican-American however seemingly wanting nothing of it and expressing a desire to move on in recent interviews. This leaves a potential title fight against WBO champion and ex-US Marine Jamel Herring a more realistic proposition for the Belfast fighter should he come through on Sunday.

Carl is on record as saying “The next fight I lose, I’m done” and needs to focus on this weekend’s bout as complacency is a threat to finishing his career on the high that it rightly deserves. Expect him to be switched on early in the fight, press throughout and get a late rounds stoppage.

This, along with an interesting co-feature including Oscar Valdez 26-0-0 (20 KO’s) versus Andres Gutierrez 38-2-1 (25 KO’s), will be shown live on BT Sport.

In Monte Carlo going head-to-head on Sky Sports on Saturday is a Matchroom Boxing card featuring the return of Norway’s Cecilia Braekhus in defence of her Undisputed World Welterweight title against Victoria Noelia Bustos. The card will also feature Welsh Olympian Joe Cordina, heavyweight Hughie Fury and an intriguing WBA welterweight title fight between fellow Russians Alexander Besputin and Radzhab Butaev. Take your pick in what promises to be a heavy nights boxing on UK television.

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