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Ant, Dec and Carl Frampton... ITV's dream ticket for Saturday

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Number one: Carl Frampton can showcase his talent to the entire UK on ITV on Saturday night against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena

Number one: Carl Frampton can showcase his talent to the entire UK on ITV on Saturday night against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena

Number one: Carl Frampton can showcase his talent to the entire UK on ITV on Saturday night against Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena

Carl Frampton is a household name in Northern Ireland. From Castlederg to Carrick, the lad from Tiger's Bay has become a big favourite.

Everybody knows him. And anyone who gets to know him likes him.

He's a confident guy but humble too. Becoming World champion hasn't changed him. We dig that. Suckers for it actually. Over here, Carl has got it going on.

Over there, though, in the rest of the UK, he has not received the same seal of mass approval.

Sure, if he walked into a boxing gym in England, Scotland or Wales, they'd all want a piece of him, but to the wider public he has yet to make a major impression. That is about to change.

After Saturday night when Carl's first World title defence is screened by ITV he will become a big deal in places like London, Glasgow and Cardiff.

Since the terrestrial channel, who covered boxing superbly in the past, announced last month that they would be showing a World title fight live for the first time since 2008, Frampton's profile has been slowly growing in Great Britain.

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As you would expect the station has been keen to publicise the IBF World super-bantamweight battle with American Chris Avalos during their much watched Champions League and Europa League coverage.

The TV deal has also seen more exposure for Frampton in newspapers across the water.

And this before he even climbs into the ring to do his stuff in that crackling Odyssey atmosphere on Saturday night.

Satellite TV has virtually taken over live sport, and in the main do a fine job, but there's something special and fitting about a big event being on ITV or the BBC.

Just ask Barry McGuigan, Carl's manager, who 30 years on from becoming a World champion and ratings winner for the Beeb, is still one of boxing's most recognised figures in the UK.

When Frampton won the World title here last September, BoxNation had the rights. Thousands watched. Even though Carl won't step into the ring until 11.00pm on Saturday, millions will see him in action this time.

Then it's up to him to deliver an explosive performance that knocks Avalos to the canvas and knocks the socks off ITV executives and the viewing public, leaving them wanting more.

This is a massive stage for Frampton to show a big audience, many of whom will never have seen him fight before, what he's about and how good he is.

A canny bit of business from McGuigan means Saturday's undercard is on ITV4. The real warm up acts for Frampton, however, are big hitters Ant and Dec and Jonathan Ross on the main channel, with ITV hoping many of the viewers watching their shows stick with them for the fight.

Already a hero in his homeland, Carl will begin conquering Britain at the weekend. They'll come to revere him as much as us. And then with his ability, attitude and desire, Frampton can go on to crack America.

Even Ant and Dec couldn't do that!


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