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Carl Frampton versus Chris Avalos: Two camps clash at weigh-in, turning Belfast fight night into a grudge match

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Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

Chris Avalos during the weigh in at The Europa Hotel in Belfast

Chris Avalos during the weigh in at The Europa Hotel in Belfast

Champion Carl Frampton during the weigh-in ahead of his title defence against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena tonight

It was an explosive clash between The Jackal and The Hitman.

Fight night came early at the weigh-in of Carl Frampton and Chris Avalos at Belfast's Europa Hotel yesterday.

And the fans loved every single second of it.

The trash-talking and bravado that goes hand-in-hand with a world championship fight erupted in an angry confrontation between the boxers.

The pride of Tigers Bay and Belfast's defending super bantamweight world champion squared up to Avalos after the weigh-in.

Frampton confidently made the required weight of 122lbs while Avalos had to remove his pants to come in at 121.9lbs.

After literally going head-to-head while swapping some verbal taunts, Avalos fired the opening salvo by pushing Frampton away.

As Frampton went for Avalos, their camps jumped in to split it up while Frampton's coach Shane McGuigan stood back with a wry smile on his face.

Both fighters continued to provoke one another, Avalos beckoning Frampton on while Frampton hit back with a dismissive hand gesture that indicated that he thought his opponent was all talk.

But the champ looked properly up for the battle - again much to the delight of his fans.

The acrimony took another twist when Frampton claimed that Avalos' mother had spat chewing gum at him.

He thanked his fans on Twitter, saying: "Unbelievable turnout for the weigh-in. Thank you for the amazing support as usual.

"It's staying here in Belfast. And still."

Frampton then tweeted about the incident.

He posted to his 84,000 Twitter followers: "On another note, Avalos' mother hit me with a bit of chewing gum straight out of her mouth. Lovely lady she is."

In contrast, his own mother Flo stood respectfully at the side of the stage to watch her son at the weigh-in.

Later, Avalos' manager Mike Criscio told the Belfast Telegraph: "Where did that come from? Because that never happened.

"She didn't throw any chewing gum at anybody.

"She wasn't even chewing gum I don't know who started that, but that is nothing but a lie."

He added: "She doesn't even chew gum. That 1,000% did not happen."

Tonight is Frampton's mandatory fight in defence of the IBF title which he won after a fierce bout against Kiko Martinez last September.

There was no room to spare in the Europa's main ballroom as the contender and his team came face-to-face with a partisan, noisy home crowd.

Carl's uncle, Bobby McWilliams from Newtownabbey, was also in the crowd and told how he will be accompanying Frampton's 95-year-old grandfather Jimmy to the fight.

The energy in the room lifted as soon as legendary boxing announcer Michael Buffer came on stage, signalling that things were about to get serious.

He gave the city due credit when he described Belfast "as the capital of the boxing world".

Avalos came on to the stage with merely a whimper, leaving all the posturing to his trainer as he went off to take off his sweat-top and track bottoms.

A loud chorus of boos from the crowd added to the theatrical mood in the ballroom.

Frampton came on to the stage like the champ he is and the crowd went wild.

The crowd crowed: "Who are you, who are you", taunting Avalos who looked remarkably unfazed by the wall of sound that was directed at him.

One wag in the crowd had his day made when he yelled a remark about Avalos' clothes - on the back of Frampton's comments about his coach not having changed his top in four days - and Buffer silkily said: "You've been waiting all day to say that, bless your heart".

If winning came down to physique and choice of pants, then Frampton has it hands down.

Ever the showman, Frampton looked more defined as he stood on the scales in his rather loud navy and white striped shorts.

Avalos looked frailer and his pants were not of the designer variety favoured by the champ.

Local boxers Conrad Cummings, Anthony 'The Apache' Cacace and Marc McCullough also picked up new fans yesterday.

But as Frampton walked off stage, the crowd sung "There's only Carl Frampton" to the tune of Walking In A Winter Wonderland.

As far as fans are concerned, the Odyssey will be a Frampton Wonderland tonight.

Stats

Carl Frampton

Age: 28

Height: 5ft 5in

Reach: 62in

Weight: 8st 10lb

Nickname: The Jackal

Record: 19 wins

KO%: 68.42

Ranking: IBF World champion

Chris Avalos

Age: 25

Height: 5ft 7in

Reach: 67.5in

Weight: 8st 9lb 9oz

Nickname: The Hitman

Record: 25 wins, 2 defeats

KO%: 70.37

Ranking: IBF number one challenger

Belfast Telegraph