Fight night tips: Best bets for Frampton v Garcia in Belfast
We make our pick for the firmer two-weight world champion's return to his home town, plus Jamie Conlan's super-lightweight title bout.
Carl Frampton v Horacio Garcia
This is Frampton’s first fight in Belfast since February 2015, and it should be a successful homecoming given the opponent that promoter Frank Warren has selected.
Garcia is a decent fighter, with 33 wins, one draw and just three defeats on his record, but he’s never fought anyone as good as Frampton.
The best fighter the Mexican has faced is American prospect Joseph Diaz Jr, who completely outboxed him over 12 rounds and won every single one on all three judges’ scorecards.
Garcia looks to push forward and go toe-to-toe with his opponent, and if he sticks to that tactic against Frampton this bout won’t last long.
The Northern Irishman is a big puncher with 14 knockouts in 24 fights, and he’s good enough defensively to avoid any attack the relatively limited 27-year-old.
It’s safe to assume that Frampton will be looking for a big finish in his return to his home town, and a stoppage victory for the former two-weight world champion is certainly the likeliest outcome on Saturday night.
Garcia has never been stopped before, though, and Frampton could be rusty having not fought since January, so this fight should go beyond the opening few rounds.
A knockout win for the 30-year-old between rounds six and 10 is a safe bet.
Jamie Conlan v Jerwin Ancajas
Frampton might be the headliner, but Conlan is the only Northern Irishman fighting for a world title on Saturday night.
The 31-year-old is unbeaten in 19 professional fights, and beat Nicaraguan Yader Cardoza in March to take the WBC Silver super-lightweight belt and set up this bout.
That split decision could really have gone either way, and fighting at home probably gave Conlan the edge in a fight in which he was often second best.
He’ll need to improve to have any chance against impressive 25-year-old champion Ancajas.
The Filipino has won 27, lost one and drawn one of his 29 fights to date, with 18 of his victories coming inside the distance, and he destroyed top contender Teiru Kinoshita with a seventh-round KO the last time he stepped into the ring.
Ancajas combines toughness with rapid hand speed, and has been dominant since his only professional defeat in 2012, beating 13 of his last 14 opponents by knockout.
He might struggle to put Conlan away, however, as the Belfast local has a good jab, a solid chin, and a two-inch reach advantage.
This should be a closer fight than most of Ancajas’ over the past five years, but the champion’s class should ultimately be enough to earn him the win on points.