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Carl Frampton's on top of the world after masterclass

By David Kelly

Published 29/02/2016

Two good: Carl Frampton celebrates with his two belts after his victory over Scott Quigg
Two good: Carl Frampton celebrates with his two belts after his victory over Scott Quigg

The super-bantamweight division's contenders must today wrestle with the question of how do you conquer a man who has all the solutions to any puzzle you may put his way. Carl Frampton is the 5ft 5' colossus of the 122lb division - and a unique Northern Ireland sporting hero.

At the end of his 12-round tussle with Scott Quigg who was supposed to be his hardest challenger Frampton had left two people in tears - the man from Bury who headed to hospital with a broken jaw allied to a shredded heart and wife Christine whose relief at the announcement of the decision was there for all to see.

She wasn't the only one holding her breath as there was collective gasp of disbelief when legendary MC Michael Buffer announced the first score of 115-13 in favour of Quigg from judge Levi Martinez. That was replaced by unbridled joy from the Frampton support among the 19,000 in the Manchester Arena.

The Jackal was now the IBF and WBA World super-bantamweight champion of the world after a battle which only caught fire in the second half but was always in the Belfast man's control - whether it was outboxing Quigg in the early rounds or standing at close quarters and matching him body shot for body shot, making his rival wince from a sweetly timed double left in the latter stages.

On this emotional, atmospheric night Frampton still took time to walk down the corridor and console his beaten opponent who admitted the Belfast man had broken his jaw with a vicious right uppercut in the fourth round. As the unified champion - the first Irish fighter to achieve such a feat - made his way to the media room, a tearful Quigg made his exit from the arena which had only a couple of hours before rocked to their war of attrition.

"I would have been the same, a defeat is hard to take. This is a hard game, when you put so much into this game," said Frampton.

"For someone like Scott who's so dedicated, he may struggle to deal with that. He's very strong minded and I hope he comes back because there's big fights out there for him.

"I'm happy to have a re-match if the public demand it but to be honest I would rather move on because there are other options. It wasn't a split decision and it shouldn't have been a split decision, I don't know what that guy was looking at.

"To be honest I knew that it was going to start off as a bit of a boring fight and that's how it played out but of course you can't say that because it's a pay-per-view fight and nobody would buy it. So, I knew it was going to be very technical for the first six rounds and then it opened up a bit in the second half.

"He came on a bit at the end but I thought I won the first seven rounds doing very little. I was surprised by their tactics because he was never going to outbox me. I did get a fright when I heard the first score but I thought 'there's no way two of them got it wrong'. I felt comfortable in their the whole time. He hits hard but he never hurt me.

Carl Frampton celebrates defeating Scott Quigg in Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton celebrates defeating Scott Quigg in Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton will be honoured by Belfast City Council as the City Hall is illuminated in green and white on Sunday evening.
Carl Frampton celebrates defeating Scott Quigg in Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton celebrates defeating Scott Quigg in Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton celebrates defeating Scott Quigg in Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Scott Quigg is lifted up into the air by trainer Joe Gallagher after his IBF & WBA World Super-Bantamweight Championship bout against Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena
Carl Frampton during Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton (R) connects with a punch on Scott Quigg during their World Super-Bantamweight title contest at Manchester Arena on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton (left) and Scott Quigg during their IBF & WBA World Super-Bantamweight Championship bout at Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg during Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton (left) and Scott Quigg during their IBF & WBA World Super-Bantamweight Championship bout at Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton (right) and Scott Quigg during their IBF & WBA World Super-Bantamweight Championship bout at Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton salutes the crowd prior to the World Super-Bantamweight title contest against Scott Quigg at Manchester Arena on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Actor James Nesbitt, former jockey Sir Tony McCoy and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill watch the action at Manchester Arena.
Scott Quigg enters the ring prior to the World Super-Bantamweight title contest against Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton (centre) in the ring before his IBF & WBA World Super-Bantamweight Championship bout against Scott Quigg at Manchester Arena.
Scott Quigg (centre) in the ring before his IBF & WBA World Super-Bantamweight Championship bout against Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill pictured at the Manchester Arena as they prepare to watch Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg during Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash.
Gavin McDonnell (left) knocks down Jorge Sanchez during their Vacant WBC Silver & Eliminator Super-Bantamweight Championship bout at Manchester Arena.
Actor James Nesbitt arrives at the Manchester Arena wearing a Northern Ireland shirt to watch the World Super-Bantamweight Title Fight between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg at Manchester Arena on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Ryan Burnett from Belfast with Anthony Settoul from France during their Vacant WBC International Bantamweight Championship contest on the undercard of the Frampton Quigg World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Paddy Barnes pictured at the Manchester Arena as they prepare to watch Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg during Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash.
Ryan Burnett hits Anthony Settoul with a right on his way to victory in the Vacant WBC International Bantamweight Championship at Manchester Arena on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Tyson Fury watches the action at Manchester Arena.
Tony McCoy watches the Ryan Burnett v Anthony Settoul fight from ringside at Manchester Arena on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Marc McCulough, from Belfast, is defeated by Isaac Lowe from Morecambe after his corner threw in the towel during their Vacant Commonwealth Featherweight Championship contest on the undercard of the Frampton Quigg World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th February 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Marc McCulough from Belfast is defeated by Isaac Lowe from Morecambe after his corner threw in the towel during their Vacant Commonwealth Featherweight Championship contest on the undercard of the Frampton Quigg World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Barry McGuiggan pictured at the Manchester Arena as they prepare to watch Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg during Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash.
Hosea Burton knocks down Miles Shinkwin during his victory in the Vacant British Light-Heavyweight Championship at Manchester Arena on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Carl Froch pictured at the Manchester Arena as they prepare to watch Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg during Saturday nights World Super-Bantamweight unification clash.
Josh Taylor knocks down and stops Lyes Chaibi during his victory in the Super-Lightweight Contest at Manchester Arena on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton's father Craig pictured at the Manchester Arena
Charlie Edwards from Epsom defeats Luke Wilton during their Vacant WBC International Silver Flyweight Championship contest on the undercard of the Frampton Quigg World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Luke Wilton from Belfast and Charlie Edwards from Epsom during their Vacant WBC International Silver Flyweight Championship contest on the undercard of the Frampton Quigg World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
Luke Wilton from Belfast and Charlie Edwards from Epsom during their Vacant WBC International Silver Flyweight Championship contest on the undercard of the Frampton Quigg World Super-Bantamweight unification clash at the Manchester Arena.
David Teymur of Sweden celebrates his victory over Martin Svensson of Sweden in the Lightweight Bout during the UFC Fight Night at The O2 Arena on February 27, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
David Teymur of Sweden celebrates his victory over Martin Svensson of Sweden in the Lightweight Bout during the UFC Fight Night at The O2 Arena on February 27, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his fight against Scott Quigg in the World Super-Bantamweight unification fight, at Manchester Arena.
Carl Frampton takes part in a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre
Happy at his work: Scott Quigg at last night’s public work-out at the Trafford Centre in Manchester
Raring to go: Carl Frampton and his coach Shane McGuigan take part in a public work-out at the Trafford Centre in Manchester last night
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Carl Frampton takes part in a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre on February 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Carl Frampton takes part in a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre on February 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Scott Quigg takes part in a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre on February 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Carl Frampton takes part in a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre on February 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton poses during a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre on February 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Scott Quigg poses during a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre on February 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton takes part in a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre on February 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Scott Quigg takes part in a public work out at Intu Trafford Centre on February 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

"Shane was giving me the right instructions and every time I landed early on I could hear him shouting 'don't get greedy, no more than three shots and then get out'.

"I felt pressure before the fight but I didn't feel there was more pressure. I'm used to pressure, when they go and build a stadium for you back home and you're fighting a guy you've already knocked out (Kiko Martinez) and the public just expect you to turn up and win, that's real pressure."

Frampton's stock has just gone to another level in not just the boxing world but right across UK sport after this clinical, masterful performance when he wiped away any doubts over his chin which had risen after the hysterical reaction to the two knockdowns he suffered in El Paso last summer.

Not only was he being hailed by those fans in Manchester and many watching on Sky Box Office, but also by two A list celebrities Stateside. "Daniel Day Lewis and Liam Neeson told Barry they would be watching the fight in America on Showtime. To have two men like that telling you they're making sure they see it on TV is just crazy," added Frampton. "And Rory McIlroy won a bet with Wayne Rooney who was in Quigg's changing room before the fight."

Frampton had marched to the ring flanked by Northern Ireland heroes Gareth McAuley, Josh Magennis, Stuart Dallas and Kyle Lafferty who held his IBF belt while their national manager Michael O'Neill sat ringside on what proved to be one of the great nights in the history of Northern Ireland sport.

"It was great to have the boys there to walk me out and these are guys that I look up to. Stuarty Dallas was playing Irish League football four years ago and now he's going to the Euros, it's unbelievable. Maybe I've got the ball rolling now and the boys can take that into the Euros and do something magical and get out of their group."

For now, Frampton says he is just looking forward to switching off his phone, eating "some real food" and spending time with wife Christine and their children after his long disciplined training camp in London.

He deserves nothing less for giving the whole of Northern Ireland a night for the ages.

Belfast Telegraph

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