Belfast Telegraph

Carl Frampton arrives home as a hero's homecoming is planned for history-making champion

'Wasn't a bad trip to New York...'

Carl Frampton has arrived back in Ireland after his victory over Leo Santa Cruz - which made him a two-weight World king.

The boxer, from Tiger's Bay in north Belfast, flew into Dublin airport on Saturday morning where he took the time to pose for photographs and sign autographs for fans.

He tweeted: "Back in the promised land. Wasn't a bad trip to New York...".

A hero's homecoming is being planned for the history-making champion, who fans are hailing the greatest Northern Irish boxer of all time.

Stormont's Department for Communities has said it was "currently considering how it can best recognise Carl Frampton's achievements on Saturday night", with further details to be revealed in the near future.

First Minister Arlene Foster said Stormont "will certainly want to recognise" Frampton's achievement in becoming the first person from Northern Ireland to be world champion in two weight categories.

"He is a world champion, and I think it is absolutely right to recognise it as such," she added.

Meanwhile top analyst and former World champion Glenn McCrory is backing Frampton to secure his place as an all-time global boxing great over the next four years.

McCrory has monitored the career of Frampton from the beginning and on the back of his recent success - he now believes he is the number one pound for pound fighter in the UK and one of the top 10 in the world - with more World title glory to come.

"Carl's performance against Santa Cruz is right up there with the best British performances since the war. He's now the number one featherweight in the world - and Carl has the ability to win a World title at super-featherweight," said Sky analyst McCrory.

"We all thought Carl was in with a shout but to go to America and put on a dominant performance like that was very, very special. He was giving away height and reach but it didn't matter because his control of distance and his footwork are just amazing. It was a masterclass of boxing.

"I spent more time watching his footwork than I did his punches to be honest. The way he can pull out of range at the right time and pick his shots is a joy to watch. I know that the paying punters are focused on the big punches but for me to see the upper body movement and the footwork, it was incredible. It was the same in the Scott Quigg fight, his footwork was brilliant.

"The thing with Carl is that he owns the ring, he's got everything and like a great dancer he's the one leading the whole time, he's bossing the fight.

"You can tell I'm a big fan of Carl - he's got the same authority, composure and command of the ring that Joe Calzaghe had."

Judging sportsmen against others from different eras is never an easy task but McCrory has no doubt that Frampton belongs with the very best of British fighters since the war and the chance to prove it will come with a series of major bouts over the coming years.

"For me Carl is the number one World champion in Britain and we have a lot at the moment and post-war he has to be up there with the very best. He's as strong a fighter as Britain has ever produced. He's already surpassed Barry McGuigan's legacy and the great thing for Carl is that there are a number of marquee fights at featherweight," added McCrory, who will be coming to the Dockers Club on Thursday August 11 (4pm) along with BoxNation commentator John Rawling for a book signing and boxing chat.

"There's a lot of talk about a re-match with Santa Cruz and it's obvious why that would happen after such a great fight but I would be confident that Carl would beat him again and then you have Gary Russell jnr, the WBC champion, who's a very good fighter. He has speed and power as well so that would be a great fight.

"For the UK everyone would like to see a fight between Carl and Lee Selby, who has the IBF title.

"Selby has fought in America and not set the world alight but he's a tall, skilful fighter and that would be a massive fight for the UK. I think Carl starts favourite against all of them.

"This win over Santa Cruz has resonated right across the UK. We know Carl has amazing Irish support but this win has really elevated him in the UK. He's gone to another level in the UK mainstream.

"What I would love to see is Carl fighting at Madison Square Garden.

"Fighters like Lennox Lewis and Oscar De La Hoya have brought New York to a standstill and Carl can do the same. The east coast Americans are right behind him now."

Belfast Telegraph


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