Carl Frampton to fight Andres Gutierrez at Belfast's SSE Arena on July 29
Carl Frampton is to fight Mexico's Andres Gutierrez when he returns from his first professional defeat at Belfast's Odyssey Arena on July 29.
The 30-year-old lost his WBA featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz in their rematch in January, and despite a desire to fight the Mexican for a third time or challenge Wales' Lee Selby, instead meets the little-known Gutierrez.
Next month's match-up represents Frampton's first in his hometown since he defeated Chris Avalos at the same arena in February 2015, and is expected to lead to a further fight later this year against another of the featherweight division's biggest names.
Gutierrez, 23, has lost only one of his 37 fights, drawing another, but is yet to compete at world level. He has also only twice fought outside of Mexico, on each occasion doing so in the US.
"I understand why (Santa Cruz) didn't come (to Belfast to fight)," said Frampton. "He had just won the title, the money he was being paid in the States, it needed to be on a Pay-Per-View show and there wasn't a Pay-Per-View date available in the summer.
"I was disappointed he didn't come but it's one each between us and I'm hoping that fight will happen at some point. I need to get past Gutierrez first and that's a really difficult fight. I'm completely focused on one man and that isn't Leo Santa Cruz.
"I wanted this to be in a big arena but it just wasn't to be. I desperately want to fight at Windsor Park at some point. I know people have travelled to New York and Las Vegas; I've got a loyal fan base.
"Leo Santa Cruz, he didn't want to fight Gutierrez when he was at super-bantamweight, that's the story I'm hearing. He didn't want anything to do with him. This guy is an avoided fighter."
Frampton's compatriot Ryan Burnett, incidentally, on Saturday became a world champion when also at the Odyssey he won the IBF bantamweight title against Lee Haskins.
Gutierrez, known as the Jaguar, had already told his local newspaper Noticias de Querétaro that he will provide Frampton's opposition as the Northern Irish boxer looks to bounce back from his first professional defeat.
“I know I have a great opportunity and I will not waste it. He had wanted this from a long time ago," said the 23 year-old Mexican.
“I’m very happy for his news they gave me. I know it will be very difficult, but I have the character to prevail.
“I tell all the Queretanos that I’m not going to let them down and I’m going to put soul, life and heart and I will fight for what I most want, that's why I’ll prevail."
Tickets will go on sale on Thursday morning at 10am priced £40, £75, £115 and VIP £250 and are available from the SSE Arena and Ticketmaster websites.
Independent.ie Comments Facility
INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.
We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie