Carl Frampton’s long-awaited tilt at becoming a three-weight world champion has moved to January 2021 following the eye injury sustained by WBO super-featherweight title-holder Jamel Herring at the weekend.
After repeated delays under the shadow of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Herring-Frampton had been rescheduled for November before Herring suffered fight-ending damage to his right eye in Saturday’s eighth round disqualification win over Jonathan Oquendo in Las Vegas.
When the American left the ring, he still wanted to fulfil the original obligation against Frampton, but cooler heads prevailed. In a taxing year, Herring had already seen the fight with Oquendo postponed twice after the champion failed two pre-fight Covid-19 tests.
“I [had] told [my promoter] Bob [Arum], regardless of what happened tonight, I still want to continue with my obligation to face Carl in November,” Herring told ESPN.com’s Steve Kim. “Bob pulled me in and said that he knew I went through a lot, going through two, three training camps in one summer and, on top of that, he felt I needed more rest from Covid. So that was actually Bob looking out for my well-being and I had to take that into consideration.
“The timeline apparently now is that they’re looking at January. [I] actually wanted to come back in December.”
Against Oquendo, Herring sustained a scratched cornea and damaged orbital socket as an old injury resurfaced.
“I apparently had an old fracture in my face that didn’t properly heal right. That fracture probably came from the Denis Shafikov fight,” said Herring. “So I’ve been through worse, it’s not a matter of quitting.
“The doctor thought I had an old fracture that didn’t heal properly, so when [Oquendo] kept head-butting, it was basically shifting into my right eye socket and that was also causing an issue. That’s what they put on the medical records, as well, on the notes. So it was basically the lens on my eye being scratched up and an old injury that was irritated again. It wasn’t the blood like I thought it was, because my eye was so bloody. I thought it was the blood filling into my eye.”
Hall of Fame promoter Arum is unfazed by the delay to Herring-Frampton, which could, in theory, now see the fight take place in the challenger’s native Northern Ireland with fans in attendance.
“The guy has to heal, first, there’s no reason to rush it,” Arum told Steve Kim. “We’re going to be busy, we have a lot of shows, including [Fury-Wilder III on December 19]. So we’ll punt it to January. What’s the hurry?”