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Ex-world champ Carl Frampton ready for return to Las Vegas

Former two-weight world boxing champion Carl Frampton is bearing witness to a wedding at A Little White Wedding Chapel on Sunday morning. He’s there on behalf of two fans who contacted the Northern Ireland native through his mother on Facebook.

But first things first for Frampton, who hasn’t fought in Las Vegas since 2017.

He must tend to his day job Saturday.

Frampton (26-2, 15 knockouts) is eager to prove he’s indeed still worthy of a world title fight and will box Tyler McCreary (16-0-1, 7 KOs) at the Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas — almost four months after injuring his left hand in an accident in August. He’s healthy now and could fight Jamel Herring next for the WBO junior lightweight title.

Provided he beats McCreary.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to call myself a world champion,” said Frampton, who is fighting McCreary at a catchweight of 128 pounds. “I have to deal with (McCreary) first, and he’s the guy I’m focused on at the minute. I want to deal with him. I want to deal with him convincingly. I feel like I can knock this guy out. That’s what I want to do.”

Frampton has long hoped to become Ireland’s first three-division world champion and was on that trajectory after debuting professionally in 2009. He won his first 23 fights and secured the IBF super bantamweight title in 2014 with a unanimous decision over Kiko Martinez. He also beat Leo Santa Cruz by majority decision in 2016 for the WBA featherweight title.

But Santa Cruz won an epic rematch in 2017 at the MGM Grand Garden by majority decision.

“The one I won was close. The one I lost was close,” Frampton said. “I think I learned more in the second fight than I did in the first fight because I didn’t adapt. … He outsmarted me in the second fight. I kind of realized you need to have more than one game plan going into a fight.”

Frampton won three straight fights after losing to Santa Cruz before losing to Josh Warrington last December. He was slated to fight Emmanuel Dominguez in Philadelphia in August, but an ornamental pillar fell onto his left hand in a hotel lobby, fracturing his fifth metacarpal.

“It still looks half deformed, but it’s better now. New bone was formed and stuff,” Frampton said. “I was a bit nervous, but it was OK.”

Frampton did not have surgery. He said he was inactive for about eight weeks before beginning training in preparation for McCreary. He overcame some initial psychological trepidation because of the injury, but had what he said was an excellent camp.

He’s focused, fit and ready to fight.

“Hopefully for Carl, he’ll have the ability to beat McCreary, and that’s not a given,” said Frampton’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank. “The fact that he’s taking on McCreary says a lot. I think it’s going to be a very competitive fight.”

After his first fight in Las Vegas, Frampton treated his Irish fans to $5,000 worth of drinks at the Nine Fine Irishmen bar. He isn’t sure he’ll do that again, noting only that he’ll be at the wedding.

And, of course, the fight.

“I feel really motivated. I feel like I have a lot to prove,” he said. “I’m not overlooking (McCreary) for a second.”

More boxing: Follow at reviewjournal.com/boxing.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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