Belfast Telegraph

Carl Frampton: Civic reception for Jackal but no open top bus tour like Barry

By Joanne Sweeney

Thousands of boxing fans are set to honour world champion boxer Carl Frampton in his native Belfast – but not with an open top bus tour of his home town.

'The Jackal' is instead expected to be feted at a special lunchtime reception in Belfast City Hall's grounds where his fans hope to see him hold aloft his coveted IBF championship belt.

A council spokeswoman confirmed last night that Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon was planning to host a civic reception for the 27-year-old from Tigers Bay in north Belfast. However, an open top bus tour – which conjured up memorable images of Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan after his own world championship win – is not on the cards.

McGuigan, who memorably attracted a 100,000-strong crowd when Belfast hosted his triumphant tour of the city on June 10, 1985, has referred to Carl as "twice the fighter I was. He could end up being the greatest Irish fighter ever."

It is understood that the council will finalise plans for the reception today with it being held tomorrow at the very earliest.

The last civic open bus tour celebration in Belfast was held on August 14, 2012 to mark the return of medal-winning boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon from the London Olympic Games.

Last night Councillor Mallon said in a statement: "Celebrating the best of Belfast has been the theme throughout my term in office – and this will be a celebration our city will revel in. Heartfelt congratulations go to Carl Frampton, his team and family. You have made Belfast proud."

The City Hall reception will be the latest free event to be held in Belfast for Frampton fans to get up close and personal with their hero. Before the big fight, there was a public work-out, press conference and an Ulster Hall weigh-in that attracted thousands.

It was an early wake-up call for Carl and his wife Christine in the Europa Hotel on Sunday morning as their little daughter Carla – who managed to sleep through the entire 12 rounds – was up bright and early. Carl tweeted a picture of himself in bed bearing the evidence of his epic fight on his face with Carla in the background: "Woke up with a sore head this morning, must have been in a fight last night. Thank you all for your amazing support".

Then he posted another pic with Carla and the IBF belt with a cheeky joke directed at wife Christine, who is seven months pregnant with a boy: "It's a bit early for the champers Carla. Obviously take after your ma."

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