Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Jackal and pride as Carl Frampton crowned undisputed King of sport in 2016

Frampton praises his fans after clinching Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards top prize

By Steven Beacom

Carl Frampton paid tribute to the support of the people of Northern Ireland as he was crowned the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year.

The Belfast boxer received a wonderful reception as he collected the top award at the glittering ceremony in the Waterfront Hall where Northern Ireland's sporting achievements from last year were celebrated.

Frampton had strong competition from fellow nominees, World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea, Ireland rugby captain Rory Best and Paralympic Games swimming sensation Bethany Firth, all of whom won other awards, but the Tigers Bay man deservedly took the big prize thanks to his stunning efforts in 2016 when he became the country's first fighter to win World titles at two different weights.

While disappointed to lose his WBA World featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz last month, Frampton took the defeat with good grace and remains one of the most popular sportspeople Northern Ireland has ever produced. In turn, he cherishes the backing from his supporters.

"I really appreciate the support I receive from the people of Northern Ireland. It means so much to me and my family," said Frampton. "I was gutted to lose in Vegas but I know I can come back and be a World champion again and I'm looking to have my next fight at Windsor Park.

"I'm delighted to win Sports Star of the Year at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, especially considering the quality of the other nominees."

Snooker great Dennis Taylor was inducted into the Hall of Fame while there were four awards for the Northern Ireland football team, including Michael O'Neill, who was named Manager of the Year.

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