Belfast-born Frampton has the world at his feet as he closes in on his boyhood dream

Bright lights of America beckon if he defeats Kiko Martinez in next month’s IBF world title fight

Karl Frampton in Belfast. “I know I’m a smarter fighter, if I listen carefully and execute our game plan, I have full confidence that I will win this fight.” Photo: Russell Pritchard/Presseye/Inpho

Karl Frampton in Belfast. “I know I’m a smarter fighter, if I listen carefully and execute our game plan, I have full confidence that I will win this fight.” Photo: Russell Pritchard/Presseye/Inpho

Mon, Aug 4, 2014, 01:00

Super-bantamweight world title challenger Carl Frampton sits in a chic Chelsea coffee shop sipping green tea. On September 6th he will fight Kiko Martinez in Belfast for the IBF world title, but there are still too many dates to cross off on his calendar.

The heat of the summer sun is at its peak when he contemplates another gruelling training session that awaits him in a baking gym that afternoon. The clock ticks slowest when he thinks about his family at home in Belfast. “I love London, but I am always here to work. I am here for a purpose and that’s to train for a world title. I’m not naturally the biggest fan of training, I’d rather be feeding the ducks in the sun in the park at home with my daughter, but it’s a short career and I will do whatever it takes to win this thing.”

Frampton lives a dual existence, at home in Northern Ireland he lives a simple life that involves family, childhood friends and his local football team Crusaders in North Belfast. In London, he lives with his trainer Shane McGuigan in a flat with a motley collection of other Irish boxers. It is a monastic life built around a stultifying routine of intense training and rest. Frampton is an intelligent man who normally finds escapism in books, but with a world title at stake, it can be hard to concentrate.

Typically aggressive

Last February Frampton outthought a typically aggressive Martinez and knocked out his Spanish opponent in the ninth round. He believes in that fight he gave Martinez too much respect, but understands that the squat Spaniard always has the potential to be dangerous in the ring.

“Just because I knocked Kiko out in the first fight, some people think this is a formality and I just have to turn up. That’s absolutely crazy, this is boxing and anything can happen to you. One good shot and your night is over. But equally, I know I’m a smarter fighter, if I listen carefully and execute our game plan, I have full confidence that I will win this fight.”

Against Martinez, Frampton will fight in a purpose-built arena on the old Titanic slipway in front of a fanatical capacity crowd. Frampton’s three-year-old daughter Carla will attend her first boxing fight, does she understand what her Dad does?

“She knows that I box, but to be honest when I’m fighting on TV she’s more interested in switching over to Peppa Pig, but this time it’s different...we honestly couldn’t get a child minder for her, the whole country wants to be at this fight and I know if Carla is there, there’s no way I can be stopped. Can you imagine how incredible it would be to lift her into the ring with a world title? That’s my dream.”

A rarity

The cross-community parallels between Carl and his promoter Barry McGuigan have been stressed ad nauseam. When Frampton fights the crowd represents every part of the country, unfortunately something that is still a rarity in Belfast sporting events. Perhaps more interestingly, Frampton’s appeal extends to people who had never been to boxing before who have been won over by his warm personality and exciting style.

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