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Christine Frampton on her knockout Christmas with Carl and the family

By Una Brankin

Baby Rossa Frampton gave his mother such a huge appetite, she's considering going to the gym for the first time in her life. This time last year, the size 8-10 evening dresses we supplied for our exclusive shoot with the Framptons were falling off Christine's slender frame, and had to be tucked and pinned at the back.

Roll on a few months and the champ's wife was complaining on Twitter about "bursting the a**e of yet another pair of leggings", and urging her second child to hurry up and make an appearance.

And unlike all those celebrity mums who are out showing off their vanished bumps in skinny jeans a week after giving birth, down-to-earth Mrs Frampton (26) hasn't been starving herself to shed her baby weight.

"I couldn't fit into any of those dresses now," she laughs. "When I was pregnant with Carla I was very sick and didn't put on much, but with Rossa I had all these sugar cravings and ate so many sweets I think I need a filling!

"But I'm going to enjoy Christmas and try to lose it after that. I'm not into exercise at all but now Carl has his own gym so I'll maybe run a bit."

She has slipped away from dinner at a restaurant with some of her family for a chat, and she's her usual open, friendly self.

It is barely a month since she gave birth to Rossa, and - given the ensuing lack of sleep - too soon for another full-on photoshoot. But, like her charming husband, she's always obliging when approached for an interview.

"I hardly slept last night - the baby's up every few hours for his bottle," she says, admitting she's not breastfeeding. "He's not a bad baby but during the day he wants to be held all the time. He's quite demanding!

"It's Carl's fault - he can't put him down. He's done more night feeds than me. Carla's his wee princess but this is his wee son; it's extra special. Carla's not jealous - yet. She's all over Rossa too, a bit over-confident, trying to feed him and kissing him."

Rossa is now up to 7.7lbs from his 6lbs birth weight. "He eats a lot and poos a lot," according to his mum. Proud dad Carl was present for the birth on November 17.

"Carl isn't squeamish at all - he cut the cord," says Christine. "It all happened so quickly. I was only in labour for an hour and-a-half and there was no time for an epidural. The pain was terrible and I chipped my front tooth - I hit myself with the gas and air - but you're better afterwards, with not having had an epidural. I was ready to go home the next day."

Little Carla (4) looks very like her father, with her fair hair and pixie features, and Christine thought she had another mini-me-Carl on her hands when Rossa appeared.

"When he was just born he was the spitting image of Carl but he's getting more like me - he's dark but he's going a bit ginger now," she giggles. "Carl's grandfather was ginger, so that must be where he gets it from."

Sadly, Christine's father Dennis Dorrian didn't live to see the birth of his grandchildren. He died at 45 of pancreatic cancer, 12 years ago, when Christine was only 14. The Dorrian family lived in the Lenadoon and Poleglass areas of Belfast, and Christine's sister Denise (33) now lives in New York. Her mum Lillian will be joining the Framptons for Christmas, along with Carl's parents, Flo and Craig. Christine says: "Mum has Carl signing things for people all the time. Those two love each other. They're really close and have been ever since we met. Mum comes to all the fights - she was shouting from the side of the ring at the last one, then she was in the ring - I had to tell her off!"

Carl's mother Flo, who works for Asda in north Belfast, is just as enthusiastic about handing out her famous son's autograph, while his dad, Craig, a leisure centre worker and shop steward, is very grounded, according to Carl's description in a recent interview: "He's not bumptious or brash. He's obviously proud but he's completely the opposite to Flo in the way he shows it, but my mum is cool."

A good cook, Carl will be making Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Christine admits she hasn't learned to cook yet - she once made Carl a "brutal" sandwich when they were courting, with cabbage in it instead of lettuce, which he politely ate without comment.

They're looking forward to entertaining both families in their new home in Banbridge, which they moved into earlier this year, having decided against living in London.

Wisely, they're holding on to their smaller but chic home in Lisburn just for the time being.

"We've rented the wee starter-house we had to a really nice couple who had a baby recently, too," explains Christine. "We've more room in this new house - it's a bit too big for me, to be honest, with Carl being away most of the year, but he has a gym in it.

"It is lovely and private and there's a garden and plenty of space for our dog Manny to run about, although he's not allowed out until we get a wee pen or something. He has no road sense and we're down a country road - he'd be straight out onto it."

Still, she admits to feeling lonely when Carl's in London, where he trains regularly.

"I'm dreading him being away full-time in January, ahead of his next big fight in February," she says. "I'll just have to try to adjust. It's hard with the two kids and the dog all to look after on your own. It's not too bad at the minute; Shane's over so they're training there."

Trainer Shane's father is, of course, former world champion featherweight Barry McGuigan, Carl's manager. All the McGuigans are regarded as family now by Carl and Christine, and Barry speaks of the couple just like a proud father: "He's a great, bright kid and she's amazingly clever and lovely," he has said of the couple.

"He's a fighter and she's a got a degree in criminology. It wasn't meant to work - but of course it did. It shows hope for a new kind of Belfast."

The couple's different religious backgrounds didn't matter a jot when they met at Kelly's nightclub in Portrush eight years ago, and still doesn't. They had a humanist wedding ceremony at the Crawfordsburn Inn last October - both struggled to hold back the tears - and don't plan to have Rossa christened.

"We did all that for Carla, but I don't think it's necessary," maintains Christine. "We'll just have a small family meal. We don't practise any faith and Carla has gone to mixed day-care since she was one. She can make her own choice when she's older; we won't force her."

Carla went along to her dad's World Championship fight against Kiko Martinez at the Titanic Centre in Belfast in September, but missed all the action.

"I'd bought her special ear-phones but it was cold beside the water where the fight was held, so I wrapped her in a blanket and she slept the whole way through," recalls Christine." "We showed it to her on video the next day and she pretended she'd seen it, but she did not."

Photos of the glamorous olive-skinned Christine in the audience at boxing matches often show her unsmiling and - naturally - slightly nervous.

The odd sectarian chants she had to hear in the earlier fights have been silenced; there's only the odd ignorant remark on Twitter directed at the couple these days. Indeed, the sense of cultural unity at world title event was heartening for all to witness.

"The whole night was surreal, like it was happening to someone else," Christine recalls. "Barry said 'You should be really happy', but even afterwards it was like being in limbo. Obviously, though, it is amazing to see your husband achieve something he's dreamed of since he was a child."

When they returned exhausted to their Europa Hotel room that night, a huge Champagne hamper was waiting for the Framptons, from none other than actress Carey Mulligan and her husband Marcus Mumford, of the eponymous band. The superstar couple was staying in the nearby Fitzwilliam Hotel. With gestures like that and Carl's new worldwide fame, I wonder does Christine ever worry about brazen groupies propositioning her man.

"There's the odd tweet from girls, but we just laugh at them. I don't worry about women chasing him … maybe I'm naive but it doesn't enter my head.

"Winning the title hasn't changed him one bit. He's still exactly the same person; he'd do anything for anybody. He doesn't let anything get to him - he's so cool and calm. Our lives went from normal to crazy overnight. I'd get more stressed about things but Carl just takes it all in his stride."

Christine agrees readily that she and Carl are soul mates, and from what I've seen, that's true. So can we expect any more little Framptons to fill up that big new house of theirs?

She laughs: "After Carla I said never again but this time, with the labour being so short, I might consider it. Not as close together, though - these two are a handful!"

A very modern love story

  • Originally from Poleglass in west Belfast, Christine Dorrian attended St Dominic's Grammar School before going on to study criminology at the University of Ulster
  • Carl is from Tiger's Bay in north Belfast and went to Glengormley High School
  • Christine met Carl, then an amateur boxer, at Kelly's nightclub in Portrush in 2006 and the pair became an item. Frampton would later joke that the couple lived off Christine's student loan as he only received expenses at the time
  • Carl and Christine were married at a humanist ceremony at the Old Inn in Crawfordsburn in October 2013. The best man was Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes.

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