Carl Frampton has respect for opponent Raul Hirales

Carl Frampton beat Kris Hughes of Scotland in January 2012
Carl Frampton beat Kris Hughes of Scotland in January 2012

Belfast super-bantamweight Carl Frampton says he is well aware that victory over Mexican Raul Hirales cannot be taken for granted.

The highly-rated Northern Irish fighter is widely expected to see off Hirales in Saturday's Nottingham contest for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title.

But Frampton warns: "He is unbeaten and deserves respect. This will be my hardest fight.

"Some people think I will blow him away but I know that will not be the case."

The Frampton camp believe victory over Hirales will set up a fight with European champion Kiko Martinez.

Manager Barry McGuigan described Saturday's contest as a great opportunity on a global platform for the 25-year-old from Tiger's Bay in north Belfast.

Frampton has won all of his 13 fights so far, with nine wins inside the distance.

His fight against Hirales is the main support bout to Carl Froch's IBF super-middleweight title contest against Lucian Bute.

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