Former two-weight world champion Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton 27-2 (15) will face late replacement Darren ‘Trayn-Wreck’ Traynor 16-3 (7) in a 10-round lightweight bout at BT Sports Studio in Stratford, London this Saturday night.
The 33-year-old from Belfast was originally scheduled to face Vahram Vardanyan 21-1-1 (14) before visa issues forced the Latvian to withdraw from the fight.
“The show must go on and Carl needed a fight after a pretty long layoff,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
“His goal is to become Ireland’s first three-weight world champion, and after he’s victorious on Saturday, we will do everything we can to give him that opportunity.”
Frampton, who was last in action in November when he decisioned Tyler McCreary over 10 in Las Vegas, says he is just happy to be fighting again.
“I’m delighted to get an opponent over the line,” he said. “I have to credit MTK Global for seeing there could have been issues with the original opponent getting into the country, and they have been paying Darren Traynor for a number of weeks to train.
“He’ll be in decent shape and will be up for it as well. There is no pressure on him, but it is up to me to look good. I want to be taking this guy out and then moving on to think about [WBO super featherweight champion] Jamel Herring.
“I can’t be complacent in the slightest. I know I’m the big favourite in the fight, but I want to win and want to look good, and I want to win by knockout.
“I feel like he’s a better opponent as he’s fought at a higher level than Vardanyan and he’s coming in at lightweight.
“I haven’t made my debut at junior lightweight yet and I’m already jumping in at lightweight, so that’s obviously a little bit in his favour, but I’m looking forward to not having to struggle at all in fight week and then putting on an explosive show.”
Co-promoter Frank Warren stressed the importance of Frampton getting the win if he is serious about becoming a three-weight world champion.
“Carl is gunning for a third world title at a third different weight and cannot afford any mishaps on Saturday night,” Warren said.
“Darren Traynor is ready to step in and fully prepared to give Carl the competitive fight he needs before heading into a WBO world championship battle against Jamel Herring, hopefully, later this year.”
In the 10-round co-main event, featherweight contender Michael Conlan 13-0 (7) will face former world title challenger Sofiane Takoucht 35-4-1 (13).
The Frampton-Traynor and Conlan-Takoucht bouts will be televised live in the United States on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 4pm ET/1pm PT. Undercard bouts, including the return of Top Rank and MTK Global welterweight prospect Paddy ‘Real Deal’ Donovan 3-0 (2), will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 2pm ET/11am PT.