Belfast Telegraph

Carl Frampton: I'm still just a working-class boy from Tigers Bay in Belfast

The Jackal's pride in his roots as city pays tribute

By Joanne Sweeney

Carl Frampton promised Belfast that he would keep winning fights and stay loyal to his fans as thousands turned out to honour him at City Hall.

The new IBF world super bantamweight boxing champion poured out his love for his home city – and predicted even bigger things to come.

Still visibly bruised and bearing a cut eye from his epic fight against Kiko Martinez, Carl thanked the 3,000 people who turned out to see him.

He told the adoring crowd: "I love Belfast, I love everything about this city. I love the fact that you all support me, you have from the start.

"So I'll keep my end of the bargain and keep winning fights and bringing exciting nights back to Belfast."

The pride of Tigers Bay in north Belfast also promised he would not desert his home fans as he faces a possible title defence match after Christmas in the US.

He said: "I'll not change. I'm still the working-class boy from Tigers Bay."

The Jackal thanked his parents Flo and Craig "for putting their hands into their pockets" when he was literally a hungry young fighter and his wife Christine for sharing her student loan with him.

He also praised former boxing trainers Billy McKee and Josie Farrell, now deceased, for all their belief in him.

Veteran sports commentator Jackie Fullerton acted as MC for the event and welcomed the city's Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon and boxing promoter Barry McGuigan onto the stage.

Ms Mallon said of the champion: "The people of Belfast just adore him.

"Very few people in Belfast can walk up any street and have people rush up to shake his hand and that's exactly what Carl has achieved. It's just phenomenal."

Mr McGuigan added: "It's been amazing to have seen him (Carl) realise his dream and we believe his dream is just beginning."

The new champ wore the IBF title belt around his left shoulder as he walked out onto the stage to a wall of sound from the audience at the civic reception organised by Belfast City Council.

Mr Fullerton revealed that the belt was actually on loan by defeated champ Martinez who had been generous enough to let Carl have his for media purposes until his new one comes.

The 27-year-old was very nearly upstaged by his own daughter Carla, who turns four just before Christmas.

The tiny child, still dressed in her nursery school uniform, was called onto the stage by Jackie Fullerton before her father arrived – and she stole the hearts of the audience.

Despite being brave enough to stand in front of the audience, Carla could not bring herself to speak into the microphone apart from telling the audience: "I fell asleep" and: "My daddy's the world champion."

Carl's parents and sister Valerie, aunts and nieces were among family and friends from his side while his wife Christine was joined by her mother, Lillian Dorian, and friends.

Mrs Dorrian revealed that while Carla slept the whole way through the fight, she wrapped the blanket that covered her during the fight around her daddy the next morning to comfort him when she saw his bruised face.

"Carla understands about her daddy boxing".

She added: "She was really looking forward to going to the fight as she's only seen him boxing after the event.

"She seems to have taken it in her stride. She's a real daddy's girl. We never thought we would see this day coming but it's just brilliant."

She said they were looking forward to their second child: "Their new baby, a boy, is due on November 16 and they are both so excited about it," she added.

 

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