Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Carl Frampton is fighter with star appeal

Boxer Carl Frampton
Boxer Carl Frampton

The surreal spliced a night at the Ulster Hall which was filled with snarling raw potential.

As Carl Frampton — a Belfast boy to the core — gripped us with his electrifying performance, one of those leading the rapturous applause just happened to be an Academy award winner, Daniel Day Lewis.

In addition, the A-list actor friend of promoter Barry McGuigan may also for a fleeting moment — surely like so many —have thought he was watching a reincarnation of the man sitting beside him as Frampton went about dismantling Yuri Voronin.

Indeed, you almost expected a chant of ‘It's just like watching McGuigan' to rise up from the Ulster Hall fans who salivated over Frampton's brutal stoppage of the three-time European title challenger from the Ukraine.

This eight-rounder was Frampton's first moment to be the leading man and he embraced the stage with all the poise of, well frankly either of the two aforementioned stars who were willing him on to victory.

Yes, southpaw Voronin may not have been the same man who rocked Bernard Dunne to his boots five years ago but for a prospect in only his seventh fight this was a test and the manner in which he passed it left you wondering just how far his bullet fists can take him.

The Frampton bandwagon is up and rolling and the hyperbole surrounding the 23-year-old is not to be scoffed at.

Voronin had never felt such pain before or been overwhelmed by such a breathless intensity.

Cue the comparisons with McGuigan in his formative years at this iconic venue.

Of course Frampton is far from the finished article — only a fool would say otherwise — but there were flashes of brilliance in this performance.

Amid the plaudits flowing his way for the sheer might of his punches and the timing of his blows it was easy to miss the clinical patience he demonstrated in breaking down Voronin — a most impressive attribute at such an early stage.

The Ukrainian sprawled along the ropes before touching down after one of many rasping right hands in the second round and having been on spaghetti legs for most of the third round as Frampton slammed home his short hooks to body and head Scottish referee Kenny Pringle thankfully called a halt at 2:43.

McGuigan says he is now aiming to secure a title fight in November for Frampton, who soaked up the thunderous applause before and after his victory.

“That was the performance of my life. We all knew that Voronin was a tough operator but at the end I was hitting him at will,” said Frampton, who would relish a clash with either Dubliner Paulie Hyland or Limerick's European title challenger Willie Casey.

“The crowd were fantastic, I had such a buzz it was almost like I had another arm.

“I believe that I could beat Hyland or Casey right now. No disrespect to them but I would jump at he chance to face them.”

McGuigan added: “I thought his speed and timing was brilliant and we're beginning to see the Carl Frampton that I watch in the gym.

“You have to remember that Voronin went seven rounds with supposedly the best super-bantamweight in the country, Scott Quigg and eight rounds with Joe Murray the Olympian.

“This kid showed that he can really fight. We're going to kick some ass, I can tell you.”

On the supporting bill, flyweight Jamie Conlan sparkled with a third round stoppage of Bulgarian Hyusein Hyuseinov, breaking his opponent down with razor sharp body shots.

Stephen Haughian got back on track with a points win over Birmingham's Dee Mitchell, 59-55, while fellow Lurgan man Ryan Greene once again entertained as he floored Matt Scriven in the fourth before winning on points 60-53.

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