Junior featherweight contender Chris Avalos is riding a six-fight winning streak and filled with confidence that he will extend it to seven and bring a world title home to Lancaster, California.
Avalos, the mandatory challenger, has traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland, to face hometown hero Carl Frampton, who will make his first defense when they meet on Saturday (AWE, 3 p.m. ET in the U.S., televised on ITV in the U.K.) at the Odyssey Arena.
“I’ve got bad news,” Avalos said to Frampton at this week’s final news conference. “I’m going to win. I’m going to take the belt home. I haven’t come all this way to lose. That would be stupid. It makes no sense.”
Avalos (25-2, 19 KOs) earned the mandatory position by knocking out Japan’s Yasutaka Ishimoto in Macau in May 2014; he also won a tuneup fight in November while awaiting his title opportunity.
The only two losses of Avalos’ career both came by split decision against fighters who were unbeaten at the time -- in 2011 to Jhonatan Romero, who later won a world title, and Christopher Martin in 2010.
"Everything is good. I am ready to go," said the 25-year-old Avalos, who added that his focus will not be affected by what will be a raucous crowd cheering wildly for Frampton, a big draw in Belfast. “I have been thinking about the game plan and what I am going to do.
“The only thing that matters is me and the fighter in front of me. The rest doesn't matter. In fact, his fans will become my fans. I did not come all the way here to lose. I know he is undefeated but he has not fought anybody like me. I do not see anything special about him."
Said Mike Criscio, Avalos’ manager: “Chris is ready to rock. I think Chris will dominate Frampton. Chris is very tough, strong, has a lot of pride and is hungry to win a world championship."
Frampton (19-0, 13 KOs) won his 122-pound world title by lopsided unanimous decision against Kiki Martinez in their September rematch in Belfast. A sold-out crowd of 16,000 watched in an outdoor arena that was temporarily constructed to hold the fight in the Titanic Quarter. Frampton, 28, also had knocked out Martinez in the ninth round in a European title fight in February 2013.
“I’ve prepared for a tough fight and I’m expecting one but this guy knows what’s going to happen,” Frampton said. “He has lost twice before to guys who don’t compare to me. He’s used to it. It’s going to be more of the same.”
If Frampton wins, there has been talk of a title unification fight with England’s Scott Quigg. Avalos said he rather enjoys all of the talk about that possibility.
"I am glad he is looking past me,” Avalos said. “I am coming to his hometown and he is underestimating me and that will make my victory on Saturday even more sweet.”