Belfast Telegraph

Carl Frampton: Bruised and exhausted, hero comes home after defeating Kiko Martinez in Belfast's Titanic Quarter

Tigers Bay buzzing with pride as a new world champion is crowned

By Joanne Sweeney

Carl Frampton may have woken up as a world champion and the prospect of earning millions –but there was only one place he wanted to be as the enormity of his life-changing win sank in.

And that was back at his proud mum and dad's modest terrace house in Tigers Bay.

Home is clearly where Frampton's heart is, and despite being bruised and exhausted from his gruelling fight with Kiko Martinez, Carl and his seven-months pregnant wife Christine and daughter Carla (3) headed back to north Belfast yesterday.

The new champ tweeted a picture of himself and his defeated opponent – possibly taken at the home of his parents Flo and Craig Frampton – where he showed his respect for the man he deposed: "Never respected a fighter as much as this man. Proud to have graced the ring twice with a true warrior @MartnezKiko."

The Frampton family home sits in the middle of what is a predominantly loyalist working-class area off the Limestone Road – a road which crosses the community divide in north Belfast.

While Carl and his family needed space to take in his momentous win, the Tigers Bay community was still buzzing from being able to call one of its own a world champion – and recovering from the mother of all parties.

Many residents in upper and lower Canning Street were nursing sore heads from their celebrations while some revellers had returned to the local bar, The Mount, to keep the party atmosphere alive.

Carl's fans had started to gather at The Mount from 4pm on Saturday to start celebrating early and many then headed off at 8pm to watch the fight live before coming back afterwards.

However, most stayed behind to enjoy what turned out to be a huge street party that spilled out from the side of the pub.

Just across the road and down the street a few hundred metres is the Midland Amateur Boxing Club where Carl was first taken for boxing lessons by his mother Flo when he was seven.

The little boys who were playing on the street had only one name on their lips as they talked proudly of the man who still takes time to stop and speak to them when he's in the area.

Next door to his parents' home, neighbour Julia Dunseath and her family were clearly delighted for Carl as well as his family. Mrs Dunseath (31) revealed that just a few days ago Carl had left in a signed boxing glove for her children – Leah (12), Lucy (9), Gary (6) and Laura (3).

"My husband Gary and I, and my sister Teri-Lee and her partner Stephen were all at the fight last night and it was just brilliant. He's a lovely guy and a hard worker who deserves all the success he gets."

She added that her son Gary is so inspired by Carl's success that now all he talks about is joining the boxing club when he turns nine.

Ann Thompson, a grandmother of 14, said that she had known Carl since he was a young boy.

"We are proud to be from Tigers Bay and Carl has done that for us. He's proud to be from here and he will never forget his roots. He appeals to everyone and there's no nonsense about Protestants or Catholics. He brings people together."

Linda Wright was one of the Tigers Bay women who helped rally the neighbours for last night's celebrations. She said: "The local people have been brilliant at organising our celebrations which went on into the wee hours. People gave money to buy the big banner that we had up outside the bar and helped organise the tables outside.

"The whole place is still buzzing from last night. It's so good to see the area being in the news for something good this time and not for any bad reasons as in recent months."

Timeline

February 21, 1987: Born Belfast, Northern Ireland

1994: Aged seven he starts boxing at Midland ABC, Tigers Bay.

2009: Turns professional. Pro record 19 fights, 19 wins.

2011: Beats Mark Quon to win Commonwealth super-bantamweight title

February 2013: Beats Spaniard Kiko Martinez. Wins European super-bantamweight title

October 2013: Married Christine Dorrian

September 6, 2014: Crowned world champion by winning IBF super-bantamweight title from Kiko Martinez in Belfast

Some 16,000 fevered boxing fans roared Carl Frampton on to victory on Saturday night. Amanda Ferguson got the ringside reaction

Boxer Paddy Barnes:

"To be here tonight is part of history. A young fella from north Belfast winning the world title. A proper world title. Unbelievable.

"It's the biggest boxing night Belfast, and maybe Ireland, has seen. People in Belfast are great boxing people, and that's why they come to watch Carl Frampton."

DUP councillor Guy Spence:

"He is fantastic. What he is doing, not just for boxing or sport in general but for society, is great. He's bringing us all together to cheer him on and support him.

"I am very proud of him. It's great to see someone from my area, Tigers Bay, someone I grew up with, doing do well. He will inspire others from the community."

Broadcaster Gerry Kelly:

"It is fantastic to have big-time boxing back in Belfast. This is Frampton's Loftus road. He is one of the nicest young fellas you could wish to meet. Really genuine. He is fantastic. This is only a stepping stone for Santa Cruz. It's going to be the next big night for Belfast."

Gillian Weir from Ballymena:

"He is super. I box out of Spartans club in Ballyclare. He's so inspirational. It's cool to see someone of such talent come from Northern Ireland. He inspires me to train really hard and give everything because that's what he does every day and why he has got so far."

Rebecca Smyth from Glengormley:

"He's amazing. It's such a good night. To have someone from Belfast win a world title fight is amazing. It's really good.

"I've been boxing for five years. I love the training. I'm dedicated to it. It's amazing to see someone from Tigers Bay make so much of themselves."

William Mealiff from Strabane:

"It's a great night for Belfast – a remake of the McGuigan fight. He just brings everybody with him. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from. It's good to be here."

Stuart Davison from East Belfast:

"It's a grand night for boxing in Belfast. It's the first main night for all parties to go to and enjoy.

"Carl is a good ambassador for the sport. He wants to be the people's champion, and he will be."

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