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Frampton is all fired up

CARL FRAMPTON (19-0, 13 KOs) is leaving nothing to chance in his first defence of the IBF super bantamweight title he won when he defeated Kiko Martinez over 12 brutal rounds in September.

His coach Shane McGiigan says 'The Jackal' will have sparred 220 intense rounds in preparation for next Saturday's meeting with Chris Avalos (25-2, 19 KOs).

The 25-year-old self-styled 'Hitman' from California presents a real threat to Frampton's unification plans.

Manager Mike Criscio says that Avalos, who swerved WBO top dog Guillermo Rigondeaux to meet IBF champion Frampton, believes he can win in Belfast.

"With his punching power, it doesn't matter where the fight is," says Criscio.

Avalos claims he's extended his range of techniques. "I used to be straight-ahead brawling but I'm mixing it up more," he says.

The Frampton camp have heard this type of talk before and are convinced 'The Jackal' is the man for the job. "I've watched Carl get even better with every training camp," says manager Barry McGuigan. "This is going to be a sensational year for him. He might even move up a weight after a few more wins."

Frampton isn't daydreaming. "This guy is dangerous," he says. "He's relentless and he can take a shot. I'm prepared to go the distance and win on points but I could knock him out first round."

Also on the card will be rising super featherweight star Anthony 'The Apache' Cacace who fights Spain's Santiago Bastos. Conrad Cummings, the middleweight with the big punch, fights unbeaten Roberto Palenzuela.

The Frampton-Avalos fight will be screened live on ITV and also UTV Ireland.