Belfast Telegraph

Frampton v Santa Cruz: Proud Christine in her man's corner again as champ out to hit the jackpot in Las Vegas

By David Kelly

Christine Frampton hopes to be crying tears of joy again when her husband Carl finishes his battle with big rival Leo Santa Cruz at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas tonight.

Christine revealed that she feared the worst for Carl after 12 tough rounds in New York six months ago, when the Jackal became a two-weight champion, defeating Santa Cruz to lift the World featherweight title.

"I had to have (daughter) Carla with me the whole fight because for some reason the people in New York wouldn't allow her or (infant son) Rossa to be minded backstage, so they had to come out and I had to act as if everything was all right, but I knew it was a hard fight," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"At the end I thought because it was New York he wouldn't get the decision, I was resigned to that, so when they announced him as the winner I just leaned forward and started crying - it was just sheer relief.

"It was a very special moment in New York but it never really dawned on me at the time because, for me, it was another win, another fight - that's his job.

"I think it'll only be when it's all over that we realise how big this has been."

Christine arrived in Vegas late on Thursday night without Carla and Rossa, due to the length of the journey.

Some 4,000 supporters are expected to follow her to Vegas to cheer on her husband, and many more are expected to get up at around 3.30am to watch the fight on Sky Sports.

"Not in a million years when he turned pro did I think it would get like this," Christine admitted.

"Being a full-time boxer is very risky, to put everything into it. Most need to have a job as well.

"Carl has done so well and I'm very proud of him and I admire the way he handles everything so calmly.

"He gets that from his dad Craig and mum Flo, they're very calm - even at ringside - and his amateur coach Billy McKee is the same.

"I don't know what is going on in a fight and I'm trying to look to them to see their reaction, but they don't react - and that's just the way Carl is."

Excitement is continuing to build in the run-up to tonight's crunch bout.

Carl is convinced his July triumph over Mexican Santa Cruz ensures he holds the "psychological edge" ahead of the Las Vegas rematch.

Tonight the 29-year-old Belfast man makes his first defence of the WBA featherweight title he won when inflicting the first defeat of Santa Cruz's career, via a majority decision.

The north Belfast man is now acknowledged as one the world's finest fighters and has an enormous and extremely loyal army of fans.

A summer fight between Frampton and Wales's Lee Selby is planned, so Carl can also succeed where his manager and boxing mentor Barry McGuigan did not, in defending the very same title in Vegas - and bringing it back to his adoring fans in Northern Ireland.

"Going into this fight, I have the psychological edge," Carl said in Vegas.

"This is my second fight at featherweight, so I'm getting more used to the weight. I feel more comfortable overall this time."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph