Carl Frampton begins a new chapter of his career when he returns to the ring in his home city of Belfast Nov. 18, with a big fight at Windsor Park planned for next year.
The two-weight world champion returns to action at the SSE Arena — formerly known as the Odyssey Arena — for his first fight since losing his unbeaten record to Leo Santa Cruz in January, it was announced at a press conference Wednesday.
It will also be Frampton’s first fight since signing with promoter Frank Warren after splitting with Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions last month.
Victory will set up a date at Windsor Park, the home of Northern Ireland’s national football team, in May or June according to Warren.
Wales’ Lee Selby (25-1, 9 KOs), the IBF world featherweight champion, and England’s Josh Warrington (25-0, 5 KOs) will be considered for Frampton’s dream fight at Windsor Park.
“Obviously we want him to fight at Windsor Park and Carl in a big fight there will sell it out,” Warren told ESPN. “We would look to put it on at the end of May, early June. At the moment we are open minded to everything and all the champions, we want to get him back out very quickly and in the next week or so will work out what direction to go in.
“Carl’s a big name. He was voted [ESPN’s] world boxer of the year in 2016. He will have a 10 or 12 rounder in November. He’s got a new trainer so I want him to bed down and get settled.
“I’m extremely pleased to sign him, he’s one of the best. We also have Josh Warrington with us and that helps because we want to make big fights and those two both have big fan bases. We’re looking to build big fights in the future and those two could meet next year.”
An opponent has yet to be confirmed for Nov. 18 but it will not be Selby — who has been calling on Frampton to face him — as he is expected to announce details of his next fight within the next week against another opponent.
Frampton (23-1,14 KOs) has also expressed a desire to face Selby but there are four titleholders at featherweight.
The 30-year-old wants a third encounter with Mexico’s Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs), the WBA champion, but there is also America’s Gary Russell Jr (28-1, 17 KOs) and Mexico’s Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs), the WBC and WBO titleholders respectively.
Frampton is ranked No. 1 with the WBC, No 3. with the WBA and IBF and No. 7 by the WBO.
“There are plenty of options. There’s Selby and I would like to get them together and I think they both want it too,” Warren told ESPN. “We want to find out who the best is out of all of them. There are others and Carl is ranked highly with all of them.”
After beating fellow Briton Scott Quigg in a world super-bantamweight title unification clash in February last year, Frampton stepped up a division to out-point Santa Cruz and capture the WBA world title in his first fight as a featherweight in July 2016.
But in a Las Vegas rematch Jan. 28, Frampton lost a majority decision (115-113, 115-113 and 114-114) and the WBA belt to Santa Cruz.
Frampton did not get the trilogy fight against Santa Cruz at Windsor Park in Belfast that he so wanted last summer. Instead, he was scheduled to meet Andres Gutierrez at the indoor SSE Arena in Belfast on July 29.
After Frampton failed to make weight for the WBC title eliminator, things went from bad to worse when Mexican Gutierrez injured himself while slipping in the shower of his hotel room and the fight had to be scrapped at a day’s notice.
In the weeks that followed, Frampton split with McGuigan, who had guided Frampton since his professional debut in 2009, and also with trainer Shane McGuigan, Barry’s son.
After teaming up with English trainer and former light-middleweight Jamie Moore, Frampton announced Sunday he had signed with Warren and will now look to revive his career this November.