With Christine in his corner, Carl Frampton can take on the world
Published 12/02/2013 | 04:20
When Christine Dorrian walks down the aisle in October, it is entirely possible she will be saying 'I do' to a world boxing champion.
Within minutes of fiancé Carl Frampton's epic ninth round victory against Kiko Martinez at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Saturday night, he was embracing the young woman who has been loyally by his side as he's punched his way to the chance of making boxing history.
Now Carl is expected to be back in the ring in Belfast on May 11 for an International Boxing Federation world title eliminator.
Another win at the Odyssey and the next fight will be for the world title belt itself.
But what few of those who watched the pair kiss will be aware of is the extent to which Christine has supported her man.
After the celebrations, the couple will continue planning their wedding – where the best man will be Olympic medal-winning boxer Paddy Barnes – in their comfortable home in Lisburn with daughter Carla (2).
But their backgrounds were resolutely working class and – never easy in Northern Ireland – from either side of the divide.
Christine is a Catholic from Poleglass in west Belfast, while the new European superbantamweight champion is a Protestant from the staunchly loyalist Tigers Bay area in north Belfast.
The couple met in Kelly's nightclub in Portrush and it took the shy young boxer a full year to ask the criminology student out.
At the time Carl was one of the top amateurs in Ireland and spent his time travelling to and from Dublin, earning nothing more than expenses.
"I was living off Christine's student loan and when we went out she was the one paying. It was embarrassing for me," said Carl.
Although Carl's financial woes ended when he turned professional in 2009, the couple's mutual dedication to his career has meant the tough times haven't ended.
To maintain his strict training regime, Carl (25) spends weeks at a time away from his family with former world champion Barry McGuigan and his son Shane in England. "When I go away I do feel that I'm being selfish, leaving the two of them behind," he admitted in a previous interview.
"Even the week of the fight when I'm back in Belfast, I stay in a hotel to stay focused on the fight, so I really admire the fact that Christine is prepared to stay alone."
Such enforced separation may not be easy, but Christine appreciates the pressures of Carl's job. She said: "I know we wouldn't have the things we do have if it wasn't for Carl's career.
"I know he's doing it for us. It's something we've had to talk through many, many times and we've come to an agreement that he comes home for a couple of days every few weeks just to see Carla," she added.
Many boxing spouses live and die with every punch that is thrown in the ring, and Christine is no exception. "It used to be that I was good at watching Carl fight, but it has got harder and harder," she explained.
"It's tougher now. I watch from behind my hands and it gets worse every time. Once that hand is raised, though, everything's all right."