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Carl Frampton says Windsor Park would be dream venue for title defence

By David Kelly

Published 21/06/2015

Home from home: Carl is keen to defend his title in front of the Windsor Park faithful. Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Home from home: Carl is keen to defend his title in front of the Windsor Park faithful. Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Carl Frampton celebrates his IBF World Super Bantamweight title victory. Pic: Kevin Scott/Press Eye/Cyclone Promotions.
Crowning glory: Frampton takes the world title from Kiko Martinez. Pic: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/Cyclone Promotions.

Carl Frampton is a man who knows what he wants and over the next few years he plans to leave an extraordinary legacy.

A proud Northern Ireland hero, the Jackal’s career is entering a new chapter as he plans to make his American debut in El Paso, Texas against Alejandro Gonzalez. It’s part one of the new promotional tie-up with top US boxing powerbroker Al Haymon and Frampton believes victory can lead to the blockbuster events he has always craved.

With his natural boxing ability and explosive power, the 5ft 5’ fighting machine can become a major boxing star on both sides of the Pond. But Sunday Life’s new columnist revealed that his ultimate dream stage remains at home.

“With this deal with Al Haymon I’ll be fighting a lot in the States but it’s also important to fight at home and I want to do that once a year at least. Belfast preferably, it depends on the venue and the fight — there’s venues in London and Manchester but I want to be fighting in Belfast as much as possible because you can’t beat that support I get,” said Frampton.

“And for me the ultimate stage would be Windsor Park, that would be a dream come true and at the right time of the year we can do that.

“As a big Crusaders fan I would have loved to have fought at Seaview but it’s just too small, they have had seating plans done and it came out as the same as the Odyssey, around 9,000 but for an outdoor fight you need more people because it costs so much more, so it just wouldn’t work financially to have it at Seaview.

“But I’d love to fight at Windsor — the home of Northern Ireland, not Linfield!

“That would be a unique experience and Windsor really is looking great now, it’s looking the part and what a night that would be. It would have to be a unification fight or a fight with Scott Quigg — next summer would be great.

“Walking out there as world champion in the new completed Windsor would be extraordinary... walking around Windsor in front of the Northern Ireland fans with my belt after winning the world title was so special, there was only a couple of stands but to do it in front of a full stadium would be amazing.”

Frampton, who as a teenager played for Loughside Boys, has been a loyal supporter of the boys in green, through the highs and lows and now he’s as optimistic as anyone about Michael O’Neill’s side qualifying for the Euro 2016 Finals.

“I would have loved to have played for Northern Ireland, but I wasn’t good enough but growing up as kid of course that’s what I wanted because I love Northern Ireland, love Northern Ireland.

“I grew up watching them in the 1990s when they were a bad lot but we’re getting good again. It’s funny, in the 1980s we had a world champion in Barry and a good Northern Ireland team and now I’m world champion and our team is looking good.”

If the dream fight at Windsor is to become a reality, in the meantime Frampton will most likely have to deliver three exceptional performances, starting with July 18 against Gonzalez and then the names of Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, Guillermo Rigondeaux and his now mandatory challenger Japan’s Shingo Wake will come to the fore.

“The next 18 months are going to be very exciting but I have to look good in beating this guy Gonzalez, I won’t be taking him for granted that’s for sure,” he added.

“Santa Cruz may be moving up to featherweight, I’m not sure and of course there is Rigo who’s a guy I would love to fight. Being with Al Haymon now my career is in the perfect position, anything is possible.

“Haymon is taking over boxing, he’s rarely seen, he’s the exact opposite of Don King but he’s putting on good fights and he has so many at super-bantam and feather and so many TV dates I think the big fights will be easier to make.”

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