Composure was the key to Carl Frampton's ninth-round stoppage of Luke Jackson in Belfast as the former two-weight world champion earned the right to challenge Yorkshireman Josh Warrington for the International Boxing Federation featherweight title this year.
Frampton established his dominance from the beginning, setting the tempo and battering Jackson with a succession of body shots created to relay the step-up in class. Jackson did manage to nick Frampton beneath one eye before the end of the second but it was an illusion of pressure.
The Jackal forced the challenger to take a count in the eighth and as he went to work in the ninth the Australian's corner sensibly threw in the towel. His corner mercifully threw in the towel one round later.
WBO world champion Frampton is now likely to face England's IBF world title fighter Josh Warrington in his next fight. Frampton, in fact, already has plans to capture more featherweight gold to grab a trilogy bout with Leo Santa Cruz.
Concerned for his fighter's safety, Hussein called an end to the contest soon afterwards. Josh is a world champion and I would love to be a world champion again.
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Frampton can still deliver, but at the age of 31 he might have peaked. "People say this has come too early for Paddy but I genuinely believe that he is ready for this". I have never felt better than I have with the team around me at the moment.
"I felt fresh. I felt like I was trying to land the flawless shot at times but I'm happy enough with the performance. Luke would have stood in there as long as possible, he's very tough". It will be a tough task to head into an opponents backyard and not known for being a power puncher he will need to box the ideal fight to win and hope the judges give him a fair decision. I'm a professional boxer and I want to fight.
Jackson held his own in a thrilling sixth as both men took big blows to the chin, but he failed to build on his foothold and was sent to the canvas by a Frampton body shot two rounds later.
It was in the fifth when the 33-year-old showed significant signs of being broken down, and while struggling to remain on his feet after a right to the body, his impressive resilience and pride gradually became his greatest strength.
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