• Super-bantamweight

Frampton handed Molitor test

ESPN staff
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Carl Frampton is undefeated in 14 pro fights © Getty Images
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Carl Frampton faces a step up in class when he takes on two-time world champion Steve Molitor, who has stepped in to fill the void left by the injured Kiko Martinez, in Belfast on September 22.

The Irish super-bantamweight was originally scheduled to meet Martinez but the Spaniard was forced to pull out due to an unspecified injury.

Promoters Matchroom Sport were tasked with finding a new opponent, with Molitor stepping up to the plate to challenge Belfast's Frampton for his Commonwealth and IBF international titles at the Odyssey Arena.

And Barry McGuigan, Frampton's manager, reckons Molitor presents a far more challenging test than the crocked Martinez would have.

"This is a much tougher fight for Carl," McGuigan said. "But it's the kind of fight we want him to be in. We could've looked further down the list of opponents and taken an easier fight but Carl wants to operate at world level and Molitor is certainly there.

"Most importantly we've replaced one great fight with another so the Belfast fans are still going to see an incredible night of boxing topped by a brilliant main event - one that is possibly even more exciting that the Martinez fight and that's what the fans deserve to see, Carl fighting a world-class operator."

Molitor, who is 34-2 in his career, scooped the IBF belt in 2006 with victory over Michael Hunter in the UK, going on to defend it five times before reclaiming it in 2010.

Taking on Frampton holds no fears for Molitor, especially given the fact he has also beaten John Mackay, Nicky Booth and Jason Booth on British soil.

"I love fighting across the pond," he said. "I've won four from four over there and plan on retaining that perfect record. I am excited about fighting Frampton - although he is not a household name amongst the rest in my division, he is recognised as a future star.

"Although I am coming in off of Martinez stepping out, I have been training like a mad man for several months - I am not hungry, I am starving. Eddie Hearn [Frampton's promoter], Barry McGuigan and Frampton, you have all the respect in the world from me - stepping up against me as a two time IBF Champion of the World takes courage."

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