Frampton’s ‘fierce boxing style’ set him for stardom
Manager Barry McGuigan says ‘The Jackal’ is a great role model who just gets on with life
Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland celebrates after his victory over Chris Avalos of USA for the IBF Super Bantamweight World Title at Odyssey Arena on February 28th in Belfast. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
He unites the people of the North in a way politicians can only dream of.
World champion boxer Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton is riding high after retaining his IBF Super Bantamweight title at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on Saturday night in front of 9,000 roaring fans and an TV audienceof millions.
The 28-year-old from the loyalist Tiger’s Bay area of north Belfast saw off trash-talking mandatory challenger, American Chris Avalos, in style, sending him crashing to the mat in the fifth round during an exhilarating display.
Frampton’s fierce fighting style, easy manner and public appeal have him set for boxing stardom, with manager, boxing legend Barry McGuigan, trainer Shane McGuigan and the rest of the highly driven Cyclone team, he calls family, there to help make that a reality.
Following earlier accusations from Avalos that Frampton was born with a silver spoon in his month, The Jackal had laughed and replied “I’m from the ghetto, mate. T-Bay”.
Proud of his Belfast roots, Frampton – whose appeal crosses sectarian divisions like few other sportsmen in the north – told a UTV documentary he was “just an average working class guy who’s put a lot of time and effort into something that he loves”.
The humble sportsman is arguably anything but average and like the Clones Cyclone before him Frampton’s appeal is about more than sport.
The father-of-two is a dedicated family man, married to Christine Frampton nee Dorrian, a criminology graduate from the republican, Poleglass area of west Belfast.
Typical of a growing number of relationships in Northern Ireland, when the couple fell in love after meeting on a night out at Kelly’s in Portrush, religion didn’t come into it.
Frampton told The Irish Times what he makes of the public view of his marriage and how he conducts himself as being about bringing divided communities together.
“I am just being normal, you know,” he said.
“I just happen to be married to a girl from a different religion, that’s all.
“It’s nice and humbling, obviously, that people look at it like that way.
“I’m just being nice to people and treating people how you would like to be treated yourself. That’s it. I am not doing anything different.”
Frampton’s mentor Barry McGuigan, who has also always enjoyed cross-community support in Northern Ireland, shared this thoughts.
“It’s a thing we like to put in the past,” he said.
“We deliberately don’t do anthems, we tell all our fighters on our bill not to wear colours that are going to alienate people.
“We make a big effort because it is very important to us we portray the right image.
“He’s an amazing kid. A lovely, lovely kid. Protestant, loyalist area, he married a Catholic from a republican area. That’s gone. They just love each other, he’s married to her and that’s the way it should be.
“He’s such a great role model such a great example to just get on with life.
“We live three score and 10 if we are lucky so just get on with each other and that’s all by the by. We take that and we run with it.”
Stormont’s deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says the north of Ireland has “traditionally punched above its weight with sporting stars” and that boxing and sports such as rugby, cricket, soccer and GAA not only “brings people together” but “brings out the best in them”.
“Carl is a sporting icon who has dedicated his life to becoming a boxing star,” the Sinn Fein man said.
“He is a fantastic role model who is full of confidence in his own ability and working with the legendary Barry McGuigan creates a formidable partnership.
“I am full of admiration for Carl, for his abilities as a sportsman, but particularly so for the way in which he has conducted himself.
“Carl is a fine ambassador and has shown by working together with other boxers including (Olympic medallist) Paddy Barnes that despite our different allegiances we can come together and overcome all of the history that has in many ways been a millstone around our neck for far too long.
“Carl is someone who we can all support.”