In Carl Frampton's eyes, it's wife Christine who is the real champion as he's set to take on Alejandro Gonzalez in El Paso
A nervous Christine Frampton will cheer on husband Carl to glory tonight while eagerly awaiting the chance to see her young children again, writes David Kelly.
Christine had to leave four-year-old Carla and eight-month-old son Rossa behind on Wednesday as she travelled to El Paso, Texas, to support Carl as he prepares to make his American debut in the second defence of his IBF World super-bantamweight title.
Not seeing her husband for long periods when he is in training for his big fights is always hard, but this one has been particularly tough for Christine as Carl had to leave two weeks in advance of his fight with Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez in order to be acclimatised to the conditions. Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, Christine said: "Leaving the kids was awful. Rossa is only eight months and it's been him, me and Carla for most of the time recently because Carl has been away so much, so it broke my heart to leave them.
"Anyone I saw at Dublin Airport when we were getting ready to fly out to El Paso, those going away on holiday with kids, I was stopping and staring at them and nearly crying.
"It was tough, but my sister is staying with them in our house so they're still in their own house and still have their own routine, which is good.
"The past fortnight has been even more difficult with Carl being away because of the time difference.
"Normally when we wake up Carl phones the kids from London, where he trains, but because of the time difference he wasn't ringing until dinnertime, and because I was bathing and feeding them we hardly had time to speak. It feels like we haven't seen him in ages.
"He surprised me when I arrived because when I was waiting for my bags to come out at the airport he walked in, but he was wearing socks with his sandals so I had to shout at him about that!
"Apart from missing the kids I was actually dreading coming out because I don't travel well and I don't do heat well, but it's nice here. The weather is lovely.
"But I did have to go out and buy a whole new set of summer clothes because last year's were not fitting any more.
"That's what happens eight months after you've given birth, so I've a few pounds to lose."
While initially nervous when watching Carl fight, Christine says she has been dealing with being ringside a lot better, but ahead of tonight's battle at the Don Haskins Centre, which is being beamed across America on CBS, she can feel the butterflies rising again.
"I think I'm more nervous about the fact that everyone is going to be cheering for the other guy and nobody is going to be cheering for Carl, and that's something that none of us are used to.
"But it's something that we're going to have to get used to because he's going to be doing this a lot more since signing the new deal with the American Al Haymon.
"I can't believe how far he has come, it's so surreal - I still can't believe that he is a world champion, not that I doubted him, but it's just something that you never think is going to happen in your life.
"It seems to be getting bigger and bigger, especially since the last fight on ITV and the win over Chris Avalos.
"It used to be just boxing people because he was on Box Nation or Sky, but since he was on ITV everybody seems to know who he is - more people, they look at him, recognise him and stare.
"And now he's on the world stage, it's just crazy - he really has done well for himself and obviously his team have done well for him but he works very hard and he deserves it.
"But I make sure he stays grounded - he's starting to get a bit flashy because he bought himself a Rolex, so I'm waiting for mine!
"I think he just wanted to treat himself because he had such a great 12 months so he probably deserved it."