Two different scenarios faced the two Irish-based fighters ahead of the card Saturday night. On one side, the former featherweight champion wanted to have an impressive showing before preparing to fight for a world title at super featherweight. At the other side, a contender at featherweight who looked forward to a feature bout five months ago now plans to go for gold at super bantamweight.
Both were able to be victorious on Saturday night as Carl Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs) defeated Darren Traynor (16-4, 7 KOs) via 7th round TKO and Michael Conlan (14-0, 8 KOs) stopped Sofiane Takoucht (35-5-1, 13 KOs) in the 10th round. Frampton now looks ahead to a showdown with the WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring who will be fighting Jonathan Oquendo September 5th. That fight has been in the works since last year but the schedule has been affected by COVID-19.
Frampton was not fighting at super featherweight for Saturday’s fight against Traynor, as he was able to fight at lightweight. Traynor replaced Vahram Vardanyan in this fight due to Vardanyan having visa issues. Even with Traynor as the new opponent a week before the fight date, Frampton planned on a quick night. It didn’t work out that way but the body work over the course of seven rounds forced the Scottish fighter to call it quits in the seventh round.
After the fight, Frampton felt a little disappointed about his showing but made the most out of the work he got from it.
“I’m happy to get the win, obviously. Far from my best, but I suppose people talk about rounds,” Frampton stated. “I don’t think it’s going to harm me doing the rounds. If I had the chance to take him out in the first round, I would’ve done that.”
In his view, Frampton felt like this was a better opponent to prepare for Herring. However, he felt that he needed to do more.
“I know I need to be a lot better for Herring. It’s good to get the rounds done. My hands are fine. No issues there. Onward and upward.”
Michael Conlan was scheduled to fight at Madison Square Garden in March, but COVID-19 put a halt to that event. He was eager to get in the ring and fight. Takoucht who lost to IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington gave Conlan a few issues, but the Irishman finished him off with a flurry at the 1:54 mark of the tenth round. It was a rough fight for Conlan as his momentum in the first part of the fight was halted when he had points taken away for low blows in the fourth and fifth rounds. Conlan knew it was a mistake but he felt that working the body was part of his plan.
“It’s hard to see the mistake, because I’m not doing it purposefully,” Conlan said. “This is something that I’ll have to work on in the gym.”
“I was trying and trying (to hurt him with body shots), maybe I was trying too hard.”
His plan to move down to super bantamweight puts him in position to eventually fight the winner of Angelo Leo against Stephen Fulton for the WBO super bantamweight title. Leo beat Tramaine Williams earlier this month for the belt and will make the first defense against Fulton later this year. Conlan hopes to be a world champion soon, but he knows that he will need to clean up his punches so that he doesn’t make the same error against the likes of Fulton or Leo.