Former world champion Carl Frampton makes his long-awaited return to the ring on Saturday. Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse explains exactly how the Jackal will win...
"Time is running out for the Northern Irishman to push himself into the mix for major honours, so a strong win and convincing performance is needed here."
Boxing back on track
This weekend's boxing schedule proves the noble art in Britain is heading back towards something near normality with each of the two big promoters staging competitive shows. Eddie Hearn hosts the latest offering from Fight Camp in Essex on Friday evening before Frank Warren snatches the spotlight. The BT Sport Studio in Stratford is the setting for a six-fight bill for Queensberry Promotions with Carl Frampton's ring return against Darren Traynor top of the bill.
The bouts will be decided before an empty arena, but the action will be shown live on BT Sport and that's great news for armchair fans eager for their fight fix. Betfair Sportsbook traders mark the occasion by offering eye-catching betting odds on the main event as well as several of the support acts. Members can call the winner of their chosen fights or take a chance on one of the specials.
Frampton suffers opponent change
Frampton hasn't been seen in competitive action since out-pointing previously unbeaten American Tyler McCreary over 10 rounds in Las Vegas late last year. The fighting pride of Belfast returned to winning ways after dropping a unanimous decision to fellow Brit Josh Warrington with the IBF world featherweight title on the line. Carl is desperate to return to the ring, but his comeback preparations were hampered when dealt a late opponent change.
The Jackal was originally scheduled to face Vahram Vardanyan, but the Armenian was forced to withdraw due to visa complications, paving the way for Scotland's Darren Traynor to step in. Far from ideal for Carl but he is a professional and former world champion with the strength of character to remain focussed. He will adjust to the challenges and will be determined to take out his frustrations on the new opponent. Frampton arrives for fight night with a professional record reading 27 wins against two defeats with 15 of his victories coming by way of knockout.
Traynor a sharp replacement
In most cases an opponent coming in at late notice will be taken by surprise, often caught off-guard, unfit, and lacking match sharpness. That is not true of Traynor who had been on standby for the last three weeks, training in the hope that things would fall his way. Frampton's management team MTK Global had been paying the 33-year-old from Aberdeen to remain on alert in case there were any problems with Vardanyan.
Traynor received the call earlier this week that his services would be required on Saturday night in London and he'll travel to Stratford believing he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Trayn-Wreck has won 16 of his previous 19 professional bouts, losing the other three. Of his wins, seven have come by knockout including the seventh round TKO of Eddie Doyle in Aberdeen when claiming the Scottish super lightweight title. This is a real step up in class for the British number 18, but he'll want to prove he belongs at this level.
Traders side with experience
The professional record of both men and what they have achieved in the sport make it easy to understand why Betfair traders have priced Frampton as hot favourite, discouraging backers from betting him in the fight winner market with odds of 1/100. There's better in the method of victory betting where you'll find a KO/TKO win at 1/5 or the points cheer at 10/3.
The money men have been quick to write off Traynor and although that's usually a dangerous tactic in this sport, it's difficult to argue against that stance. Traynor for the win by any method is as chunky as 20/1 on the Sportsbook.
Jackal to take his time
There is no doubt Frampton is a level or two above this weekend's opponent and he'll be upset he's back mixing it at domestic level. Time is running out for the Northern Irishman to push himself into the mix for major honours, so a strong win and convincing performance is needed here. The fact he hasn't boxed since November may encourage Carl to remain patient and get a few rounds under his belt, working on tactics and building on his strengths.
When the Jackal does start to put his punches together, he should put a dent in Traynor who will quickly realise the gulf in class that exists between the two men. Darren is the naturally heavier man and that will be an advantage, but it shouldn't be enough to keep Frampton off all night. The favourite is expected to box smart in the opening rounds, feel his way into this one before landing body shots and winning by stoppage.