Carl Frampton v Kiko Martinez: Jostling between boxers at big-fight weigh-in at Belfast's Ulster Hall
Jostling broke out between Carl 'The Jackal' Frampton and Kiko Martinez at the big-fight weigh-in at the Ulster Hall.
The challenger and the champion were involved in bad-tempered pushing and lunging at a snarling face-to-face encounter in front of hundreds of boxing fans.
The pair appeared to trade insults after Martinez, who arrived late for the weigh-in, appeared to deliberately take his time changing into track bottoms and trainers, sparking fury from Jackal fans for the traditional post-weigh-in face-to-face photocall.
Frampton arrived on stage to thunderous applause from a packed Ulster Hall, accompanied by manager Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan and others.
Martinez had arrived late for the weigh-in with an assistant displaying his title belt, only to face a barrage of booing from Frampton fans.
Around 16,000 people are expected to flock to a specially-built arena at Titanic Quarter for tomorrow night's big fight, with police warning of severe traffic disruption in the area.
Manager Barry McGuigan told the crowd today that the fight will be Northern Ireland's biggest ever – reminiscent of his own 1980s glory days.
Frampton has said he is in his best ever condition after a marathon training and build-up programme, and predicted he will be champion on Saturday night.
Frampton became the only fighter to knock out Martinez last February but the tough Spaniard went on to win a world title in August.
Frampton, who lives with his wife Christine and three-year-old daughter Carla in Lisburn, began his boxing career at Midland ABC, Tiger's Bay before moving to Holy Family ABC in New Lodge as a professional.
He is trained by Barry McGuigan's son Shane, who was also present at the Victoria Square training.
Television rights to the fight have been sold in the British Isles, the US, China, Japan, the Middle East and south America.
Carl Frampton is fully focused on grabbing his world title opportunity with both hands as he attempts to wrest the IBF super-bantamweight title off Kiko Martinez in their rematch in Belfast this weekend.
Frampton (18-0, 13KOs) is a heavy favourite to beat Martinez again, having won their first encounter in February last year by ninth-round stoppage in a savage bout that left the unbeaten Northern Irishman with a perforated ear drum.
Nevertheless, Martinez rebounded from the loss two bouts later to surprisingly take a portion of the world title off Jhonatan Romero and the Spaniard has gone on to make two successful defences.
The 28-year-old (31-4, 28KOs) will be aiming to make it three, and avenge his most recent loss in one fell swoop, at the Titanic Quarter on Saturday night, but Frampton is ready for whatever the champion will bring.
"Every single one of his fights he has boxed the same way. He comes forward, he's aggressive and has an exciting style that the crowds like," said Frampton.
"I think our styles clash well and make for a good fight, but I don't see him doing anything different and expect him to come head first, trying to knock me out.
"But it's up to me to remain smart and switched on for the 12 rounds, and as long as I stay focused there's only going to be one winner."
While Frampton insists Martinez is incapable of change, the 27-year-old, who is managed and promoted by former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan , feels he is constantly improving.
"I don't think you've seen the best of me. There's still plenty more to come. I can see and feel the improvements every day in training and after sparring. The best is definitely yet to come," he said.
Victory on Saturday could open up potentially lucrative unification bouts with WBC champion Leo Santa Cruz or British rival and WBA title-holder Scott Quigg, but Frampton only has eyes for Martinez.
"I'm preparing for a hard, gruelling fight, that may take 12 rounds, but no matter what happens I'm going to win," he said.
"I also know I have the power to knock any super-bantamweight in the world out.
"So it could be a 12-round points decision or it could be over in the first round. Nevertheless, I'm preparing for a very hard and brutal fight, then we can talk about future fights."
Belfast Telegraph Digital