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Carl Frampton could be fighting at Windsor Park

By Steven Beacom

Carl Frampton has been told that he is more than welcome to stage future fights at Windsor Park once all the redevelopment work has been completed at the stadium.

While the newly crowned IBF world super-bantamweight champion recovers from his injuries, sustained in his points victory over Spain's Kiko Martinez on Saturday night, and weighs up his options, one could be to box at the home of the Northern Ireland football team in two years time.

Irish FA president Jim Shaw has suggested, with extra seating, the capacity for a Frampton fight at Windsor could be as much as 25,000.

The all singing, all dancing new Windsor Park won't be finished until October 2015, so the likelihood is that it could not be used for a boxing match until 2016, by which time the Tigers Bay hero will hopefully have successfully defended his title on a few occasions.

Even before the stunning weekend win Frampton was considered a star by the people of Northern Ireland, but that victory has rocketed the 27-year-old to superstar status with the world at his nimble feet.

Shrewdly guided by manager Barry McGuigan and trained by Shane McGuigan – who has gained increasing respect in the fight game with every convincing Frampton performance – Carl will have his pick of venues from here to the US in the months and years ahead.

Given though that he is a big Northern Ireland supporter, Windsor Park would certainly have an appeal to the north Belfast man, who is a class act outside and inside the ring.

Indeed had the new Windsor been in place last weekend, it could have been in the mix to host Frampton's world title bout with Martinez which took place at Titantic Slipways and was watched by 16,000 passionate fans, all cheering 'The Jackal' on to a memorable triumph.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph IFA president Shaw said: "Carl is a big Northern Ireland supporter and we would obviously welcome him with open arms at Windsor.

"What he has done for Northern Ireland is fantastic. Quite rightly everyone in the country is very proud of what he has achieved and I'm sure there will be more to come.

"If he and his team wanted to stage a fight at Windsor Park in the future that would be great.

"We are told that with all the extra seating there could be a capacity of 25,000 at a boxing match at the new Windsor Park. It would be wonderful once the stadium is finished to have a Carl Frampton world championship fight at Windsor. That would be a truly special occasion."

It would not have escaped Frampton's notice that he was crowned world champion on September 6, a notable date in Northern Ireland sporting history.

Eight years previously to the day Carl was jumping up and down in his living room celebrating as David Healy netted a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory over a star-studded Spanish side at Windsor in a European Championship qualifier.

Since then the two heroes have become friends. Healy was one of many well known sports stars to send messages of congratulations to Frampton after he claimed the world title on Saturday night.

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