Carl Frampton has had a pair of fights with reigning European super bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez canceled already, and now Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says that they'll move on from that idea and target world-level fighters for a January return to the ring in Belfast.
From BBC Sport:
"It's difficult to build someone's career against somebody who is so unreliable. There are a couple of other interesting fights out there."
Hearn names Rafael Marquez, Jeffrey Mathebula, and Rico Ramos -- all former world champions at 122 pounds -- as potential names for Frampton to face. The 25-year-old Frampton (15-0, 10 KO) is coming off of a beatdown win against another ex-titlist, Steve Molitor.
I will say that if they're looking for "reliable," Rafael Marquez isn't the guy. It seems like every major fight he lines up is postponed at least once, with his most recent scheduled date against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr ultimately getting canceled. Marquez is now due to face Cristian Mijares in Mexico City on October 27.
Mathebula or Ramos would be great next opponents, though, and the sort of thing that could push Frampton quickly up the world title ladder. He seems ambitious, and they're not being overly cautious about matching him, so maybe everyone thinks he's ready. Or maybe he'll wind up fighting someone of lesser quality in the end. We'll find out, but I like the ideas.
Hearn did recently bid on a Frampton-Kiko Martinez fight, but lost the bid to Sergio Martinez's Maravilla Box Management. That probably plays another role in not bothering with the fight and forfeiting mandatory European title challenger status.