Carl Frampton well on his way to superstardom
The achievement of Carl Frampton in winning another world boxing title in New York at the weekend was truly outstanding.
He scored a clear points victory over Leo Santa Cruz to win the WBA world featherweight championship in what experts regarded a 'superb' boxing encounter.
Earlier this year Frampton beat Scott Quigg in Manchester to unify the world IBF and WBA super bantamweight titles, and Carl has now made history by becoming the first boxer from Northern Ireland to win world titles in two different weight divisions.
This gives him a justifiable claim to be one of the best ever boxers from Northern Ireland which has a long list of boxing champions, not least Barry McGuigan, his manager.
Carl Frampton's story has the resonance of a bestseller book, which might be thought to belong to the world of sporting fiction, but it has an enormous punchline because this is real life.
This confident and talented young man has travelled a long way from his native Tiger's Bay in north Belfast to stamp his authority on world boxing with his latest stunning display in New York.
In doing so, Carl has crossed all the barriers and united the community behind his sporting success. He and his wife Christine have crossed the denominational barriers in their happy and mutually supportive marriage.
Barry McGuigan and Carl have also crossed the barriers, and they have come a very long way in a very short time.
It is only some eight years ago that Barry spotted Carl's enormous talent in the Ulster Championships, and since then he has used all his experience as a former world championship to guide the younger man through many of the difficult and dangerous currents of international boxing.
It is particularly fitting that Carl now possesses the same boxing belt that Barry won some 31 years ago when he defeated Eusebio Pedroza to win the world championship in London.
Frampton's victory in New York was another great night for Northern Ireland sport. This province punches well above its weight in so many sports, and Carl Frampton deserves all our thanks in keeping Northern Ireland in the world's sporting headlines.
Carl is rapidly becoming a superstar. He is not only an outstanding boxer but also an eloquent young man with his feet firmly on the ground. We all wish him further success in his stellar career.