Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Belfast Odyssey: Carl Frampton, Belfast Giants and Rob Stewart

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Carl 'The Jackal' Frampton is hoping to defeat 35-year-old Hugo Cazarez and pave the way to a blockbuster clash with Leo Santa Cruz
Carl 'The Jackal' Frampton is hoping to defeat 35-year-old Hugo Cazarez and pave the way to a blockbuster clash with Leo Santa Cruz

It promises to be a great week at the Odyssey Arena. Premier League darts comes to town on Thursday, while the Belfast Giants will be presented with the Elite League trophy on Friday when they take on Coventry Blaze after securing the title last night with a 3-1 win in Nottingham.

The title triumph also guarantees a real party atmosphere at Giants legend Rob Stewart's star-studded testimonial at the Odyssey tomorrow night.

It will all be a far cry from scenes earlier this month when a fleet of ambulances rushed to the Odyssey – which was hosting a concert – to treat teens under the influence of drink and drugs.

That was the kind of publicity the Odyssey simply didn't need.

The superstars of darts – Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and the rest – will take to the oche on Thursday, and while the 8,000 fans who pack the Odyssey will raise more than a glass (or plastic beaker) or two to their heroes, expect behaviour – although raucous – to be top drawer.

And the Odyssey will make it a stunning sporting hat-trick when boxer Carl Frampton takes on Hugo Cazares on April 4 as the home town hero plots a similar route to the top as that taken by his manager, the legendary Barry McGuigan.

It will be a night on which the Odyssey will be a cauldron of sporting passion and a great advertisement for Belfast.

You're going to hear a lot about the Odyssey in the days and weeks ahead – for all the right reasons.

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