Two of Belfast’s pugilistic heroes, junior lightweight contender Carl “The Jackal” Frampton and featherweight contender Michael “Mick” Conlan, are joining forces. Frampton and Conlan will co-headline a special BT Fight Night card in separate 10-round bouts Saturday, Aug. 15, behind closed doors at BT Sport Studio in London.
Frampton (27-2, 15 KOs) will fight the hard-hitting Vahram Vardanyan (21-1-1, 14 KOs) while Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) faces former European champion and recent world title challenger Sofiane Takoucht (35-4-1, 13 KOs).
The Frampton-Vardanyan and Conlan-Takoucht bouts will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, Saturday, August 15, beginning at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.
“What a tremendous opportunity for fight fans to see Mick and Carl fight on the same card,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Carl and Mick are closing in on world title opportunities, and I expect spectacular performances from both men.”
Frampton returns following his dominant 10-round decision over the previously undefeated Tyler McCreary last November in Las Vegas. Vardanyan has won six in a row since the lone defeat of his career, and Frampton must prevail to earn a shot at WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel Herring. Frampton’s goal is to become the first Irish boxer to win world titles in three weight classes.
“I’m excited to get back in the ring, especially as I was unsure at the start of this lockdown about whether I’d get the chance to fight this year at all,” Frampton said. “The Jamel Herring fight was meant to happen in the summer but got ruled out, so this is a fight that keeps me busy and keeps me active. Hopefully, I get the win here, and then we can have the Herring fight for the world title later this year or in early 2021.”
In Conlan’s last outing, he avenged his bitter defeat from the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals, notching a unanimous decision win over Vladimir Nikitin at Madison Square Garden. A planned St. Patrick’s Day return to New York was called off due to the ongoing pandemic, but Conlan will stay active against Takoucht, who in his most recent contest challenged Josh Warrington for the IBF featherweight world title. Before the Warrington fight, Takoucht had won eight in a row.
“I’m delighted to be back boxing again. I haven’t stopped training throughout lockdown, so I’m coming in prepared, and I expect to put on a big performance,” Conlan said. “I’m interested to see how it will be fighting in front of no fans, but I’ve done it before in the amateurs, so experiencing that again is something I’m looking forward to.”
In undercard action on ESPN+:
- Dennis “The Menace” McCann (6-0, 4 KOs), the 19-year-old prodigy from Kent, England, will face an opponent to be named in a scheduled eight-round junior featherweight bout. The southpaw stylist turned pro last year and has yet to lose a round.
- Troy “Trojan” Williamson (14-0-1, 11 KOs) will make the first defense of his IBF European junior middleweight belt against an opponent to be named.
- Paddy “Real Deal” Donovan (3-0, 2 KOs), a Top Rank-signed prospect from Limerick, Ireland, will see action against an opponent to be determined in a six-round welterweight tilt. Donovan is trained and managed by former middleweight world champion and Limerick native Andy Lee.