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Dublin: 6°C Tuesday 2 March 2021

Warren miffed that Khan's comeback on Sky will clash with Frampton-Donaire on BT

Khan and Frampton will return to the ring at the same time on rival channels and under rival promoters.

Image: Niall Carson

UK BOXING PROMOTER Frank Warren is annoyed that arch rival Eddie Hearn has scheduled Amir Khan’s ring return for 21 April – the same night that Carl Frampton squares off with former four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire in Belfast.

Warren and Hearn have publicly clashed on countless occasions since the latter became a major player in the sport at the turn of the decade, and many boxing fans questioned the sense in having Khan make his comeback simultaneous to Frampton’s bid to return to the big time in a tantalising scrap with ‘The Filipino Flash’.

Frampton, who after leaving long-term partners Cyclone Promotions turned down what he described to The42 as ‘a very good offer’ from former promoter Hearn before signing with Warren, will fight live on BT Sport.

Khan, meanwhile, signed to Hearn’s Matchroom stable, will be shown on Sky Sports at the same time.

‘The Jackal’ was originally mooted to battle Donaire on 7 April, but the date was switched due to the upcoming wedding of Warren’s son, Frank Warren Jr, which will take place on the same date.

Frampton-Donaire was thus confirmed for 21 April, some 48 hours before Hearn followed suit in announcing Khan’s first fight since mid-2016.

Writing in his UK Star column, Warren voiced his dissatisfaction that fans would be forced to choose between two major events on either side of the Irish Sea when they pick up their TV remotes in three months’ time.

“Boxing doesn’t need to dilute its audience any further by running big shows against each other on the same night,” said the Queensbury Promotions chief.

You wouldn’t get Manchester United against Chelsea on Sky Sports with Arsenal against Liverpool at the same time on BT Sport, would you?

“It is something that needs to be looked at but we announced our date with Frampton first so we cannot be blamed this time.

“Make no mistake about it though, the SSE Arena in Belfast will be the place to be that night or watching on TV as Frampton takes on a mighty foe.

“It will be interesting to see what Khan is like coming back after almost two years out and on the back of that brutal knockout defeat by Saul Alvarez.

“But he will not be facing a big-name opponent as he looks to shake the ring rust off and there is nothing wrong with that after such a long time out.”

Warren also praised Frampton for unnecessarily taking a hugely difficult scrap despite being guaranteed another world title shot in the summer – most likely at Windsor Park in August.

Were Frampton to come up short against Donaire, that bid for world honours – as well as his childhood dream of fighting at Windsor – would be parked, perhaps indefinitely.

Frampton knows he has a world title shot in the summer against the winner of IBF champion Lee Selby v Josh Warrington, so he could have picked a weaker opponent to ensure there is no slip up. But that is the mark of the man that he jumped at the chance to test himself against Donaire.

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