Carl Frampton believes he’s got what it takes
Ulster fight fans are not easy to please and tonight Carl Frampton aims to increase the number of believers in his ability to become a genuine star of the sport.
In addition to those putting their hands in their pocket for tonight's offering at the Ulster Hall, Frampton also has to send a message to those who decide the future challengers for British and Commonwealth honours.
The hard-hitting Belfast man is behind quite a few in the queue for such opportunities but an impressive performance tonight would certainly elevate his status as he heads into 2011.
Frampton steps up for his first title, the vacant Celtic super-bantamweight belt, when he meets Gavin Reid with fighter and manager Barry McGuigan knowing that his performance will immediately lead to comparisons being drawn with that of Scott Quigg's victory over the Scot. Quigg, who is closing in on a British title shot, took nine rounds to get rid of Reid, while reigning Commonwealth featherweight champion Stephen Smith outpointed the gritty 32-year-old over eight rounds.
Frampton gave us an exhibition of his exhilarating power and electric speed three months ago when stopping former European title challenger Yuri Voronin in three rounds but believes that Reid could be more resilient.
Frampton said: “Reid is fresher than Voronin, his record doesn't do him justice because he has taken fights at short notice and he's a very tough guy. He's given some of the top guys a hard night. But I couldn't have prepared any better. I've been sparring with John Simpson who's fighting Martin Lindsay for the British featherweight title and that was great for me. I've worked with him before and you know with John that it's always going to be hard.”
While he has always given a good account of himself, Yorkshire-based bricklayer Reid has come up short and it would be a major shock if Frampton did not come through victorious.
So, it is all about how the 23-year-old comes out on top and I expect Frampton to have the Ulster Hall rocking again with celebration by the seventh.
The supporting bill features fellow hot prospect Jamie Conlan as well as Lurgan pair Stephen Haughian and Ryan Greene. Haughian is continuing to re-build his career after a poor loss to Kevin McIntyre for the Celtic welterweight title in June. A good win over Dee Mitchell in September should be followed this evening by victory over Derby's Dave Ryan.
“It's great to be back in the ring again, I'm getting some continuity and that's going to allow me to bring out the best in me. Against McIntyre I was too rusty but I know I can get back into the British title mix,” said Haughian.
After two wins Greene has already gained a reputation as someone who can deliver quite a wallop and Hungarian Laszlo Haaz will do well to go the distance this evening.