Carl Frampton and Frank Warren have criticised rivals Matchroom for staging Amir Khan’s comeback on Saturday so that it clashes with Frampton’s fight against Nonito Donaire.
They have also dismissed Khan’s with Phil Lo Greco as one for fans of reality television, insisting only those interested in celebrity gossip will watch it over Warren’s bill at Belfast’s SSE Arena.
Frampton fights Donaire, at 35 four years his senior, for the WBO interim featherweight title in the knowledge the Filipino was once one of the world’s leading fighters and can disrupt his plans of a summer fight at Windsor Park.
Khan returns from almost two years out at Liverpool’s Echo Arena against little-known Canadian Lo Greco, having since appeared on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here and temporarily separated from his wife Faryal Makhdoom amid inaccurate accusations of an affair with Anthony Joshua.
Frampton also has a long-term rivalry with Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn that dates back to his time with former manager Barry McGuigan and his eventual victory over Scott Quigg, and he said: “If I sat and thought about it it would probably annoy me. No one’s winning here.
“There’s going to be boxing fans watching our show (on BT Sport and BoxNation) and other fans watching the Sky show. But it’s going to be split whatever. You could have more eyes watching our sport, and that’s what brings people to our sport and that’s what attracts people to it when they see big events.
“To have two big events on the same night does a disservice to our sport. I know people get one up on each other all the time, but boxing is the loser in this instance.
“If you want to talk about boxing shows, this is the boxing show to be watching on the night. Khan will have a lot of Big Brother, whatever, Celebrity Jungle people watching, but real boxing fans – if I was sitting at home I know which fight I’d be watching, and it wouldn’t be that one.”
Warren is working with Frampton for the second time, and should the Northern Irishman win, he plans to then match him with the winner of next month’s IBF featherweight title fight between Lee Selby and Josh Warrington or WBO champion Oscar Valdez.
Donaire was secured as Frampton’s opponent back in December, while Khan-Lo Greco was scheduled after he signed with Matchroom with January, and Warren added: “It’s pretty stupid for our sport. Arsenal don’t play at home when Spurs play at home and don’t kick-off live on the same time live on TV. So why are we doing it?
“There’s no winners here, because it doesn’t matter what way you look at it, the audience will be divided.
“True boxing fans, you know what they’re going to be watching. The fans of Big Brother and all of the gossip press and what’s gone on with Amir’s career and life will probably be watching that.
“Amir coming back into the ring, and fighting a guy who we all know he’s expected to bowl over. It’s a stupid move, it doesn’t do anyone any favours.”