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Champion boxer Carl Frampton calls for 'united voice' to ease tensions in communities

Jackal also revealed reality TV aspirations

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3/12/2010. PACEMAKER INTL BELFAST.  CARL FRAMPTON CELEBRATES VICTORY AFTER DEFEATING GAVIN REID IN THE BATTLE FOR THE CELTIC SUPER-BANTAMWEIGHT TITILE DURING THIS EVENINGS BOXING AT THE ULSTER HALL, BELFASTPICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

3/12/2010. PACEMAKER INTL BELFAST. CARL FRAMPTON CELEBRATES VICTORY AFTER DEFEATING GAVIN REID IN THE BATTLE FOR THE CELTIC SUPER-BANTAMWEIGHT TITILE DURING THIS EVENINGS BOXING AT THE ULSTER HALL, BELFASTPICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

3/12/2010. PACEMAKER INTL BELFAST. CARL FRAMPTON CELEBRATES VICTORY AFTER DEFEATING GAVIN REID IN THE BATTLE FOR THE CELTIC SUPER-BANTAMWEIGHT TITILE DURING THIS EVENINGS BOXING AT THE ULSTER HALL, BELFASTPICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

Former world-champion boxer Carl Frampton has urged political leaders in Northern Ireland to speak with a “united voice”, after recent violence erupted in Belfast.

Frampton - who became the first Irish fighter to unify the boxing world titles in 2016 – grew up in the Tiger’s Bay area of north Belfast, the scene of recent violent disorder at the start of April.

Describing himself as being “angry” and “frustrated” at the scenes he witnessed, the 34-year-old father-of-two described the trouble as “recreational rioting” and called on more money to be invested in projects in the areas affected.

Known as ‘The Jackal’, the boxer hung up his gloves in the aftermath of his Dubai WBO super-featherweight defeat by Jamel Herring on April 3.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster, Mr Frampton said there would not be an “easy fix” for problems within working-class loyalist areas.

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The violence in areas of Belfast, Carrickfergus and Londonderry during March and early April saw almost 90 police officers injured, after coming under attack from mainly young people rioting.

“I was one of them kids and when there was a riot going on at the bottom of my street growing up in Tiger's Bay, you got involved in it,” he said.

"Not because you were a bad kid but because you were excited by it and there literally was not much else to do.

“There is not a lot to do in some of these areas for kids, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

“Projects and money need to be pumped into these working-class areas. This can be sorted out.

“I wouldn't say it's an easy fix but I think that a united voice from politicians, especially on this matter, and it can be repaired.”

Adding that he wanted to “give back” to Northern Ireland following his retirement, the boxer said he was interested in establishing a foundation or investing in working-class communities and young people.

"Places like Tiger's Bay where I'm from and Poleglass where my wife's from, and the New Lodge, Falls, Shankill, wherever - I want to give back and help kids really and give kids opportunities," he added.

The emotional scenes in the ring as he announced his retirement at the start of April marked the end of a glittering career in boxing – one Carl says he is “very proud” of.

Describing himself as “relieved” that his fighting career is now over, the family man said his focus now is on wife Christine and his two-children – Carla and Rossa.

“Boxing's like a 24/7 job - you have a fight, you win hopefully but even on your holidays you're thinking about your next fight, thinking about how much you can eat and how much weight you are going to put on,” he explained.

“Events that I missed, things like school sports days that I've missed because I was away on the camp - I don't have to miss things like that.”

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FAMILY TIME: Carl on holiday with Christine and their kids, Carla and Rossa

FAMILY TIME: Carl on holiday with Christine and their kids, Carla and Rossa

FAMILY TIME: Carl on holiday with Christine and their kids, Carla and Rossa

The champion-boxer also hinted that his time in the limelight might not be entirely finished, with “loads of options” of what comes next – including a potential stint on reality TV.

“The jungle [I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here] is always something I said I would do that if I had the chance,” he said.

“I have been told I’m not allowed to do Strictly Come Dancing as everyone has affairs. I enjoy singing but I’m really nervous about it. I wouldn’t want to not sound good in front of millions of people on the TV.”


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