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Carl Frampton has world at his feet golden future ahead for king of the ring

Carl’s fairytale Stateside triumph sees him makes history as first Northern Ireland boxer to capture world titles in two different weight categories

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 01/08/2016

Carl Frampton celebrates his win after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in the 12 round WBA Super featherweight championship bout at Barclays Center on July 30, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough in New York City. (Photo by Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton celebrates his win after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in the 12 round WBA Super featherweight championship bout at Barclays Center on July 30, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough in New York City. (Photo by Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton pictured with the WBA featherweight belt the morning after defeating Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton, right, throws a punch at Leo Santa Cruz during their WBA Super World Featherweight Championship fight at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Saturday, July 30, 2016. Carl Frampton won via decision. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Carl Frampton pictured with Rory McIlroy after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton holds up his championship belt after his WBA Super World Featherweight Championship fight against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Saturday, July 30, 2016. Carl Frampton won via decision. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Carl Frampton after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton pictured with his children Carla and Rossa after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Shane McGuigan celebrates after Carl Frampton defeated Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton pictured with Rory McIlroy after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry .
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Frank Lampard, Rory McIlroy and Michael O'Neill pictured at the Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz bout in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton pictured with Barry McGuigan and Rory McIlroy after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Rory McIlroy with Christine Frampton after Carl Frampton defeated Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton pictured with his daughter Carla after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton pictured with his children Carla and Rossa after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Colin Murray pictured at the Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz bout in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton celebrates after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton, Barry McGuigan and Shane McGuigan after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton and Shane McGuigan celebrate after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton, Barry McGuigan and Shane McGuigan after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Barry McGuigan celebrates after Carl Frampton defeats Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Christine and Frank Lampard pictured at the Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz bout in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Steven Davidson, Rory McIlroy and Michael O'Neill pictured at the Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz bout in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Frank Lampard and Steven Davidson pictured at the Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz bout in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton pictured with his daughter Carla after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest against Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Leo Santa Cruz with Carl Frampton during Saturday nights WBA featherweight title contest at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NY. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th July 2016 - Photo by William Cherry

Carl Frampton could have punched his way to a $10m fortune after writing his name into sporting folklore with a fairytale of New York triumph.

He defeated Leo Santa Cruz to become the first Northern Ireland boxer to win a world title in two weight divisions.

Hundreds of local fans were Stateside to roar Frampton to glory in a Brooklyn blockbuster, joined by a cast of celebrity A-listers.

Rory McIlroy was ringside at the Barclays Center, with Frank and Christine Lampard and Michael O'Neill also among the 9,000-strong crowd.

Back home thousands more stayed up through the night to watch the fight on television.

Yesterday plans were being made for a huge welcome home party ahead of Frampton's triumphant return.

Meanwhile, the champ was toasting his victory with jubilant fans. He staged a post-fight bash at Annie Moore's Bar in Manhattan, signing autographs and posing for selfies.

"I'm just a normal, working-class guy who can fight a wee bit - that's it," he said.

Earlier, donning a Northern Ireland shirt, Frampton proudly held his belt aloft outside his New York hotel.

It followed a night of high drama which ended in him overcoming the odds to defeat the previously unbeaten Santa Cruz.

Carl Frampton being hoisted aloft after his sensational victory in the ring by trainer Shane McGuigan
Carl Frampton being hoisted aloft after his sensational victory in the ring by trainer Shane McGuigan
Carl Frampton on the streets of New York yesterday with his WBA featherweight belt

The 29-year-old, from Tiger's Bay, was declared the clear winner by two of the judges, with the third scoring it a draw.

Wife Christine, children Carla and Rossa, and parents Craig and Flo were there to see him bask in triumph.

Frampton is now set for a hero's return to Belfast.

And he is also in line for a massive windfall, with experts predicting that he could net millions on the back of beating Santa Cruz.

One industry source estimated he has earned £2m to date, and yesterday's win could net a further £800,000 in prize money and other spin-offs.

The growth of Brand Frampton Stateside, coupled with more lucrative fights, could see his income soar by a further $10m over the next few years.

Yesterday's victory - sealed shortly before 5am UK time - was his first as a professional at featherweight.

He had moved up a division after unifying the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles by beating Scott Quigg in February. The latest victory saw him claim the belt his manager Barry McGuigan won in 1985.

Asked if it was a night he had dreamt of, Frampton said: "You do when you're a kid - the dream was always to be a world champion, and once you do that you start having new dreams.

"I reached my goal of becoming a world champion and then I wanted to become a two-weight world champion. It's just going up and up."

McGuigan, meanwhile, hailed it as the greatest night of Frampton's career.

"I genuinely believe this kid will go on to be the greatest Irish fighter there's ever been," he said.

"Tonight was the greatest night of his life. It was a spectacular performance."

Having failed to make the cut at the US PGA, McIlroy dashed to Brooklyn to be ringside for the fight.

Afterwards, the golf star hailed Frampton as "a fantastic ambassador".

"I think you could see in the arena the support that Carl had, not just from everyone who came from Northern Ireland, but the Americans really took to him as well," McIlroy said.

"What a fantastic fight. To go in there and stand toe to toe with Santa Cruz was unbelievable. I don't think I've been as nervous at a sporting event in my life."

In a joint statement, First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness hailed a "true champion".

"His relentless determination and incredible sacrifice to be the best he possibly can be has now deservedly made him champion at two different weight classes", they said.

While Frampton admitted the bright lights of the Big Apple were a major draw, he pledged to remain true to his roots by continuing to compete regularly in his native Ulster.

Frampton has boxed six times at the Odyssey Arena, once at the Titanic Quarter, and dreams of appearing at Windsor Park, where he is a regular visitor.

"I want to fight here (in the USA) and I want to fight at home. I'm a Belfast boy and I love my fans back home," the champion said.

Belfast Telegraph

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