Carl Frampton insists his career is still in his own healed hands despite a delay in fighting caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Northern Irishman resumes his career in a 10-round lightweight bout against Darren Traynor at the BT Sport Studio in Stratford, London, on Saturday which will be streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S..
Frampton (27-2, 15 KOs), 33, from Belfast, needed surgery to mend both hands which were fractured in his unanimous points win over American Tyler McCreary in Las Vegas in November.
Boxing then shutdown in March and resumed earlier this summer without fans at events, but Frampton says his career has not been held up by the pandemic.
“These last six months with no fights haven’t done anyone any favours, but it has at least given me time to get over hand injuries,” Frampton told ESPN.
“I had operations on both hands in December. I broke both hands in my last fight, my left hand had not properly healed after that stupid statue fell on me [in August 2019], so I was going to be out for a while anyway.
“It’s been frustrating for everyone because we have all struggled to get dates, but I’ve been able to train in Manchester for the last ten weeks, so it has not stopped me training.”
Frampton, who has won world titles at featherweight and junior featherweight, hopes victory over Scotland’s Aberdeen-based Traynor (16-3, 7 KOs) sets up a shot at WBO junior lightweight champion Jamel Herring (21-2, 10 KOs), from Cincinnati later this year.
Traynor is a late replacement for original opponent Vahram Vardanyan, who withdrew due to visa problems.
“People go on about my age and while it’s not ideal, the guy who I want to fight has a year and a half on me and he’s champion,” Frampton said.
“I still feel fresh and still feel there’s a few years left in me.
“WBO title shot is the one I’m talking about, Jamel is talking about it and [promoter] Top Rank is talking about it. I would love that fight before the turn of the year, and I would be happy with November.
“Traynor is going to give me rounds and has fought at a higher level than Vardanyan so I feel like he’s a better opponent, and he’s coming in at lightweight so that’s in his favor.
“I haven’t even made my debut at junior lightweight yet and now I’m now making my lightweight debut so it’s been nice not struggling with the weight this week.”
Herring, who is 35 in October, is due to Jonathan Oquendo in a second title defense in Las Vegas on Sept. 5, after the fight was postponed for a second time as Herring tested positive for the coronavirus last month.