Carl Frampton stops Chris Avalos in fifth round to retain IBF super bantamweight title

Neither fighter was prepared to take a backward step during an epic contest

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The Independent Online

This was what brought ITV back to boxing, an absolute barnburner in Belfast that saw Carl Frampton retain his IBF super bantamweight title with a fifth round stoppage.

The challenger, Chris Avalos, had gone toe to toe for four rounds of incredible hostility before giving way in the fifth beneath a barrage of sledgehammer blows.

The referee stepped in with the American almost out on his feet. The doctor was across the ropes in an instant to establish the condition of a man who had walked into a storm.

Promoter Barry McGuigan claimed his man was a top five box-office star before the bout. On this evidence both know how to put on a show.

The first bell ended what had been for half an hour a raucous party inside a packed Odyssey Arena, the whole of Belfast it seemed on its feet for the boy from Tigers Bay.

The challenger did not want for attitude or pluck and was straight into the face of Frampton keeping the ring small and his opponent close. A raking right from Frampton as the bell sounded was a warning of what can happen when is let off the leash.

Avalos was out quickly again at the start of the second forcing Frampton back. He said he had come to fight and did not disappoint. But you take on Frampton at your peril.

A terrific left stunned Avalos and then a combination trapped him on the ropes. This was the start the crowd had come to see, Frampton pin point with his punches and brutal with his intent.

Avalos had some success in the third but he had to take heaps to land a blow, and by the end of the round his mouth was bloodied, yet he smiled as he made his way to his stool.

There was no let up in the fourth, neither fighter prepared to take a backward step in what was developing into an epic contest.

Incredibly Frampton found a higher gear in the fifth and Avalos, as brave as he was, simply could not respond.

The stoppage brought trainer Shane McGuigan into the ring to raise his man high into the air. McGuigan Snr followed by blowing kisses to the four corners of the arena and mouthing ‘thank you’ to the crowd.

Cue delirium.

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