Carl Frampton is hoping to end 2017 on a high as he eyes a trilogy fight with rival Leo Santa Cruz.
The Belfast boxer has endured a tough year having lost his WBA world title in his January rematch with the three-weight world champion, before splitting with his long-time training and promotional team.
Now the 30-year-old takes on the tough Horacio Garcia in his comeback fight this Saturday, live on BoxNation, and is refusing to overlook the fierce Mexican despite having hopes of sharing the ring with his countryman Santa Cruz once again.
“The Leo Santa Cruz fight is the one fight that I want but at the moment the only guy I am thinking about is Horacio Garcia,” said Frampton.
“He’s a very good fighter. He’s a stereotypical Mexican fighter – he comes forward, is aggressive, punches hard and takes a good shot. He’s got a good team – he’s with Canelo Alvarez’s people. I think they’re expecting him to put in a good performance.
“He’s the only man on my mind at the minute but there are some big fights out there which excite me. Santa Cruz is number one but there is Josh Warrington and Lee Selby also - but we can look at all that after Saturday night,” he said.
‘The Jackal’ insists he is back to his best and will be looking to impress in front of his passionate Belfast fans, on a card that will also see another local Jamie Conlan take on Filipino Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF super-flyweight world title.
“I’m really pleased to be back home again. It’s a brilliant card to be fighting on, let alone headlining. I feel good and am looking forward to putting in a great performance,” said Frampton.
“There is a spring in my step. I’m in a good place right now and the best is yet to come. I know I can beat any featherweight in the world on my day and that I can become a world champion again.
“It’s going to be a cauldron-like atmosphere in The SSE Arena on Saturday. It can hold 9,000 but it sounds more like 30,000. It is the best atmosphere in world boxing. I have won all my fights there by knockout and I hope to do the same again this time around,” he said.
27-year-old Garcia has shared the ring with some tough opponents already including Joseph Diaz and Fernando Vargas.
He now steps in against a heavy favourite in Frampton but will have the support of pound-for-pound ace Canelo Alvarez who will be ringside to cheer on his stablemate.
“Having Canelo supporting me is great motivation for me. We started out together and have seen each other climb up. It’s very important to me that he is coming out to watch my fight because that will help me,” said Garcia.
“I’m going to leave everything in the ring and it will be a great fight. Carl is a great fighter. He’s been in the sport for a long time. To beat him will put me on top of the rankings and people will remember me as one of the guys who beat Carl Frampton,” he said.
South African star Zolani Tete will also feature on the night as he defends his WBO bantamweight world title against Siboniso Gonya, with flyweight ace Paddy Barnes fighting on home soil against experienced Nicaraguan Eliecer Quezada.
BoxNation’s live coverage will start from 7.25pm this Saturday night.