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The hero's return: Modest champion Carl Frampton's delight as he is mobbed at airport after Manchester glory night

By Nevin Farrell and Chris McCullough

Ring king Carl Frampton returned to a hero's welcome in Belfast last night after he touched down at George Best Belfast City Airport to be mobbed by ecstatic fans.

But the modest Belfast boxer revealed he still got embarrassed over the adulation he receives from his supporters - who even roared their approval as The Jackal stepped aboard his flight home.

Now he plans to have some personal time to relax with his family.

When the Tigers Bay fighter boarded his flight from Manchester yesterday evening after winning his big fight with Scott Quigg, he said he wasn't expecting to be applauded on by fans, many of whom had watched him become unified world super-bantamweight champion at the Manchester Arena.

And he was cheered off at the other end, when Flybe flight BE484 landed 10 minutes early at the City Airport.

Chants of "Champion-ee" filled the air as Carl carried his young daughter Carla in his arms, and the little girl got in on the act by making her hand into a fist, just like her daddy.

Also there were proud wife Christine and son Rossa.

Carl told the Belfast Telegraph: "It was a great reception, I honestly didn't expect anyone to be here, that was good, it was nice. I also got a bit of a cheer on the plane, which was nice as well.

"It's a bit embarrassing for me, I am one of those guys, but it was nice."

He added that his immediate plans were to "rest, chill out and switch off my phone for a few days and have a bit of time with my family".

Frampton added that he was "obviously over the Moon" at winning.

"It was a great night, an unbelievable atmosphere. I don't know what it came across like on the TV but in the arena it was spine-tingling. I have never heard anything like it in my life."

He said he felt elated and wished to thank the supporters.

"I feel honoured and privileged to have such a fan base, and to travel into your opponent's back yard and come with a belt he used to own and bring your own back home as well is an amazing feeling."

Frampton said he will sit down with his management and plot the next move and consider if there will be a rematch. Windsor Park has been mentioned as a potential venue.

Angela Murphy (32) from Belfast was at the fight and then on the same plane home as the champ. She said: "It was great to be there and everybody cheered when he came onto the plane. He was sitting two seats behind me and everyone was in good form."

Geoffrey Watt (34) from Belfast came to the airport to welcome Carl home. "It is brilliant, he unites everybody in Northern Ireland," he said.

There were amazing scenes at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night as well as a 'who's who' of Northern Ireland celebrities watched the big fight.

Jimmy Nesbitt was there in a Northern Ireland shirt, while Rory McIlroy bet with Wayne Rooney, a friend of Quigg's.

McIlroy tweeted afterwards: "Fought a smart fight. Get your wallet out Wayne Rooney!"

They were joined by Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, Olympic medal winning boxer Paddy Barnes, retired champion jockey AP McCoy.

Carl's dad Craig told the Belfast Telegraph: "I am over the Moon. Carl had the better skills and the better coach to allow him to win.

"Scott is a nice enough lad. I was convinced all along that Carl won the fight. I didn't think he lost any rounds at all. I cannot understand how one judge gave the fight to Quigg."

A host of other celebrities and politicians congratulated Carl via social media. First Minister Arlene Foster tweeted: "Delighted for our wee @RealCFrampton. Another reason to be proud of Northern Ireland."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "Warmest congratulations to @RealCarlFrampton on his tremendous World title victory last night in Manchester. A most admirable young man."

Actor Nesbitt was in fine form watching the fight ringside with McCoy, tweeting that he was "walking in a Frampton wonderland".

And Belfast City Hall was lit up in green and white last night in recognition of Frampton's achievement.

Belfast Telegraph

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