Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year winner 2017 - Carl Frampton

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards. Carl Frampton and Michael O'Neill. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye
Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards. Carl Frampton and Michael O'Neill. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye
Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Carl Frampton signs autographs and poses for selfies. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Niamh Reel, Ciara Byrne, Emma Magee, Eileen Rice, Kayla Burns and Cristin Brown
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Sarah Little, Michael Jenkins, Arlene Regan, Simon Snodden and Joanne Hayden pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Gillian McCrudden and Stacey Gibson pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Cristian Brown, Lauryn McKay and Eileen Rice from Sacred Heart School in Newry pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Carl Frampton signs autographs. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Carl Frampton signs autographs. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Carl Frampton lifted the trophy for Sports Star of the Year 2016 at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards presented by Belfast Telegraph managing director Richard McClean. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 12 - Hall of Fame award Snooker legend Dennis Taylor was given the Hall of Fame award, sponsored by the Parr Group. It was presented by Steve Parr, Managing Director of Parr Group, snooker star Joe Swail and Tyrone Manager Mickey Harte. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Snooker legend Dennis Taylor was given the Hall of Fame award in 2016, sponsored by the Parr Group. It was presented by Steve Parr, Managing Director of Parr Group, snooker star Joe Swail and Tyrone Manager Mickey Harte.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, Belfast Telegraph editor Gail Walker, Ulster Rugby manager Les Kiss and Belfast Telegraph sports editor Jim Gracey. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Ed Curran, Gail Walker and Hall of Fame award winner Dennis Taylor. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill picked up the Manager/Coach of the Year award, sponsored by Active Financial Life last year. It was awarded by Breeda Toner, Financial Advisor with Active Financial Life and Les Kiss from Ulster Rugby.
Award 11 - Manager/Coach of the Year award Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill picked up the Manager/Coach of the Year award,Ê sponsored by Active Financial Life. It was awarded by Breeda Toner, Financial Advisor with Active Financial Life and Les Kiss from Ulster Rugby. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 10 - Special Recognition Award Jonathan Rea picked up a Special Recognition Award sponsored by Volvo. It was presented to his father Jonny, Andy Duke from Volvo dealer, Greers of Antrim, and rugby legend Willie John McBride.Ê Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Award 9 - George Best Breakthrough Award Michael McGovern won the George Best Breakthrough Award, sponsored by Gym Co. It was presented to his father Terry, by Jim Conlon, Director of Gym Co and Northern Ireland sporting icon Pat Jennings. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Award 8 - Paddy Patterson Award David Seaton won the Paddy Patterson Award, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Sports Forum, presented by Chair of the Forum, Roy Millar.   Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Award 7 - Team of the Year Award The Northern Ireland Football Team won the Team of the Year. Manager Michael O'Neill collects the award. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 7 - Team of the Year Award The Northern Ireland Football Team won the Team of the Year Award, sponsored by McComb's Coach Travel. Manager Michael O'Neill collected the award. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 6 - Local Heroes Award Slaughtneill GAA won the Local Heroes Award, sponsored by Crowne Plaza Belfast. It was presented by Rajesh Rana, Director of Crowne Plaza Belfast and Dame Mary Peters. Chair Sean McGuigan with Claire McCollum Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Award 6 - Local Heroes Award Slaughtneill GAA won the Local Heroes Award, sponsored by Crowne Plaza Belfast. It was presented by Rajesh Rana, Director of Crowne Plaza Belfast and Dame Mary Peters. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Award 5 - Special Recognition Award Rally driver Kris Meeke won a Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Volvo. His brother Barry, picked up the award on his behalf, from Philip Houston, Volvo dealer, SMW, Belfast and rally legend Paddy Hopkirk.   Barry Meeke with Craig Doyle. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 5 - Special Recognition Award. Rally driver Kris Meeke won a Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Volvo. His brother Barry, right, picked up the award on his behalf, from Philip Houston, Volvo dealer, SMW, Belfast and rally legend Paddy Hopkirk. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 4 - Sports Person with a Disability award. Bethany Firth won the Sports Person with a Disability award, sponsored by Crowne PlazaÊBelfast. She was presented with the award by George Graham, general manager of Crowne Plaza Belfast and former top Ireland cricketers, Kyle McCallan and Andrew White. Bethany Firth with Claire McCollum. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 4 - Sports Person with a Disability award. Bethany Firth won the Sports Person with a Disability award, sponsored by Crowne PlazaÊBelfast. She was presented with the award by George Graham, general manager of Crowne Plaza Belfast and former top Ireland cricketers, Kyle McCallan and Andrew White. Bethany Firth with Claire McCollum. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory Best won the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year award, sponsored by Celerion. Paula Quinn, Recruitment Manager from Celerion and rugby legend Stephen Ferris presented the award to Jodie Best, Rory's wife. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Award 2 - Young Player of the Year Golfer Olivia Mehaffey won the Young Player of the Year, sponsored by Decathlon Belfast. It was presented to her father Philip by Richard Larmour, Marketing and Events Manager from Decathlon and Paralympians Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 2 - Young Player of the Year Golfer Olivia Mehaffey won the Young Player of the Year, sponsored by Decathlon Belfast. It was presented to her father Philip by Richard Larmour, Marketing and Events Manager from Decathlon and Paralympians Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop. Philip Mehaffey with Claire McCollum. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Methodist College Belfast 1st XI Girls Hockey Team  won the Young Team of the Year award sponsored by Subway and presented by Ireland hockey International Eugene Magee and Scott Hayes, Chairman of Subway Northern Ireland. Current team captain - Jodie Savage with Craig Doyle. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Award 1 - Young Team of the Year. Methodist College Belfast Girls hockey team won the Young Team of the Year award sponsored by Subway and presented by Ireland hockey International Eugene Magee and Scott Hayes, Chairman of Subway Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Award 1 - Young Team of the Year. Methodist College Belfast Girls hockey team won the Young Team of the Year award sponsored by Subway and presented by Ireland hockey International Eugene Magee and Scott Hayes, Chairman of Subway Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Jim Conlon, Claire McCollum and Craig Doyle pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Tiffany Brian and Stacey Deller pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Claire McCollum and Craig Doyle pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Martin Lindsay and Trevor Ringland
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Caroline and Rodney McComb with Michael O'Neill
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Les Kiss and Stephen Ferris
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Martin Lindsay, Ad Curran and Len OÕHagan
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: John and Geraldine Condie
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Mark Regan, Claire Winter, Joanne McNeill and Kevin Carson
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Aiden Murphy, John Campbell and Gerry Magee
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Trevor Ringland with Pamela and Jimmy Kirkwood
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Brian Magee and Joe Swail
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Michael O'Neill and girls Methodist College Belfast
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Eoin and Art O'Hagan with Michael O'Neill
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Mike Todd and Jim Gracey
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Willie John McBride, Jackie Fullerton and Pat Jennings
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Alan Graham and Pamela Ballantine
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Rachel Johnston, Neil Black and Samantha Kerr
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: David and Joan Seaton
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Scott and Lorna Heyes with Frances and Kurt Courtney
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Marc MacFadyen, John Nicholl and Chris MacFadyen
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Chris and Chloe Cumming, Dermot O'Connell, Mark, Jennifer and Maudie Cumming.
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: John Sloan, Ivan Coffey and Walter Kennedy
February 2017 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Peter and Irene Finegan
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Stephen Ferris and Brian Scott pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Karen McGarvey and Julie Maguire pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Jim Conlon, Claire McCollum and Craig Doyle pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Andrew White and Ydele White pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Michael O'Neill with fans pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Paul and Janet Gray pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Ed Curran and Len O'Hagan pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Gavin Devlin, Michael O'Neill and Mickey Harte pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Hugh Black and Mark Irwin pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Michael O'Neill with fans pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Jim Gracey pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Martin Breen, Michael O'Neill and Mathew Breen pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Michael Gilvary, Ciaran McConnell and Neil McGeown pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Guests from Methodist College pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Michael O'Neill pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Barry Funston and Brian McIlroy from the Rory Foundation pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Carmel, Terry, Kathryn and Aine McGovern pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Pamela Ballantine and Jackie Fullerton pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Jim Conlon and friends from Gym Co pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Isabella Byrne, Nuala O'Neill and Emma Magee from Sacred Heart School in Newry pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Len O'Hagan, Martin Lindsay and Peter Rainey pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Jim Gracey, Alan Graham, Mike Todd and Pamela Ballantine pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Ciara Byrne, Sasha Boyle and Francis Keenan from Sacred Heart School in Newry pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Lynne McCluggage, Fiona McIlwaine, Jackie Armstrong Olive Fenton pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Damian and Tara Grimes pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Louise Taylor and Dennis Taylor pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Len O'Hagan, Anna Armstrong and Naomi Fenton pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Kayla Burns and Niamh Reel from Sacred Heart School in Newry pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Stephanie Stewart and Carter McVeigh pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Susan, Stephen, Claire Brodie pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Carol Morgan and Breeda Toner pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Keith Knox, Simon Cathcart and Sinead Cathcart pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Sam and Kris Boyce pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Nigel Stewart and Lorna Stewart pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Lorna and Scott Heyes pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Moyra and Mike Gibson pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Hazel and Leslie Busby pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Elaine and David Brown pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Chris McFadyen, John Nicholl and Mark McFadyen pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th February 2017 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016. Ronan and Hugh Rocks pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 in the Waterfront Hall. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards hosts Craig Doyle and Claire McCollum. Photo by Claire McCollum/Twitter

Carl Frampton was cheered as he walked to the stage to collect his Sports Star of the Year prize at the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.

The Belfast man received a standing ovation and another as he went to sit down again.

In the history of Northern Ireland sport, he is one of our most popular figures. Better still, he's a genuinely nice guy. He's the family man from Tigers Bay with the heart of a lion.

At the Waterfront Hall, Frampton was still hurting, mentally rather than physically, from last month's defeat to Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas, but talking to presenter Craig Doyle, the 500 strong audience heard Carl's message loud and clear that he is fiercely determined to bounce back stronger than ever and become world champion again.

When he promised that 'no featherweight in the world would beat me at Windsor Park' there was a loud roar of approval inside the room.

A battle at Windsor is to come later this year - possibly against Santa Cruz in showdown number three with Frampton revealing that his team are 'more optimistic now than they were a week ago' that the Mexican will come to Belfast. It would be the hottest ticket in town.

While Frampton looks to the future, the prestigious Sports Star award was for what he achieved last year.

In his first fight in 2016, the 29-year-old defeated England's Scott Quigg in Manchester to the joy of the Jackal Army to add the WBA Super-Bantamweight belt to his IBF title.

Next up was his first contest with Santa Cruz in New York with the WBA World Featherweight title at stake. It turned out to be a belter in Brooklyn with Frampton winning on points.

Victory in the city that never sleeps was a dream come true for Carl and his best moment in boxing to date as he became the first man from Northern Ireland to be crowned world champion at two different weights.

Frampton's success was one of the highlights of a stunning year for Northern Ireland sport.

"I think 2016 will go down as one of the best years ever for sport in this country," Frampton told the attentive audience.

"We had so much to cheer from Jonathan Rea winning the World Superbikes again to Bethany Firth shining at the Paralympics, Rory Best leading Ireland to the historic victory over New Zealand and Northern Ireland reaching the knockout stages of the Euro 2016 finals, it was an incredible year.

"It shows the determination in Northern Ireland to be the best. The night I beat Santa Cruz in New York was the pinnacle of my career so far and I feel there is more to come.

"I want to become world champion again and I believe I will."

No one at the Waterfront Hall doubted him for a second. Nobody in Northern Ireland does.

While we hope Carl enjoys some time off with his wife Christine, children Carla and Rossa and family and friends, it will be great to see the Belfast Telegraph's 2016 Sports Star of the Year back in the ring again later this year.

Nominee: Jonathan Rea

In 2015 Jonathan Rea's ambition of being the World Superbike champion was fulfilled.

Winning it the first time was sensational. With the pressure on the Ballyclare man knew in 2016 he would have a target on his back with the rest of the riders all challenging his supremacy.

Rea was up to it and then some as he made a fantastic start to his season and maintained his excellent form, enabling him to retain his crown - an achievement even more impressive than winning it in the first place.

With his class at World Superbike level confirmed, don't bet against him making it three titles in-a-row.

 

Nominee: Bethany Firth

SWIMMER Bethany Firth was just brilliant in 2016.

It turned out to be the year of her dreams.

The 20-year-old travelled to Rio for the Paralympics hoping to bring home a gold medal.

By the end of the Games, she had THREE around her neck and a silver for good measure.

Firth started the Paralympics in breathtaking fashion winning the S14 100m backstroke in a world record breaking time of 1:04.05. From then on she was almost unstoppable, triumphing in the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley plus earning a silver in the 100m breaststroke.

Nominee: Rory Best

RORY Best didn't just become an international centurion in 2016, he made history as well.

You may think that the highlight of his year came in Dublin in November when, as the first Ulster player to reach 100 caps for Ireland, he led the side to a famous victory over Australia at the Aviva stadium.

What happened a few weeks before eclipsed even that when Best captained the Irish team to their first ever victory against New Zealand. The men in green finally overcame the All Blacks, after 111 years of trying, in a stunning display in Chicago, and they were led and inspired by the outstanding Best.

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