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Barry: Carl Frampton on path to becoming global star

McGuigan is backing his man to win over world

Barry McGuigan has done it his way with Carl Frampton and that is not about to change as the Jackal prepares to make his American debut in El Paso, Texas tonight (UTV, 9.45pm), writes David Kelly.

The former World featherweight king signed up Frampton in 2009 and from the start predicted he had a world champion in the making.

Along the way to that great night at Titanic last September, McGuigan has worked with Eddie Hearn and Sky, BoxNation and more recently ITV - throughout that period making sure that he had his hand firmly on the tiller directing the Belfast man's career.

Remaining independent is never easy in boxing and when the time came to start up his own promotional company, Cyclone Promotions, he knew there would be doubters but his sons Jake and Blain have stepped up and helped drive the success they have had with Frampton, with other son Shane the man honing the IBF super-bantamweight champion's skills at the Battersea gym.

The CEO of Cyclone Promotions, McGuigan has been telling us long before now that Frampton would one day head Stateside and become an attraction and now the moment has arrived for Frampton to take that chance.

"It's difficult being independent and making the boxing business work, there's a lot of investment involved and we have invested a lot in getting Carl to where he is.

"He was the first guy I picked when I decided to manage boxers and he's world champion so I think we've done a pretty good job," said McGuigan, who has no doubt Frampton will relish the chance to show the Americans his true worth at the Don Haskins Centre when he defends his World super-bantamweight title against Alejandro Gonzalez jnr tonight.

"Carl's a natural fighter, he will love it and they will love him. From Northern Ireland, it's been some time since we had a fighter who captured the American public's attention.

"But when he started off, I thought he could go all the way and I thought about America, it was really just a matter of time before he would get to this point.

"It's great that we have got to this stage but I could see in the gym what he was doing with guys so much bigger than him and I knew that he was very special and then you ask, well does he have the personality to be popular with casual sports fans, not just boxing fans? And he has - and he's got serious, serious talent. He can be very big here in America.

"You make no better impression in this business than knocking your opponent out and I would like to see a similar job to the one done on Chris Avalos at the Odyssey.

"But I think this is going to be a harder fight than the Avalos fight because I think he will be more defensive. Gonzalez is tall and has a good left hook, good all round skills and he's 22 and in my experience younger guys are more durable so Carl can't afford to switch off because he has that hard left hook."

Apart from his ring attributes, Frampton has also shown himself very able to handle the increasing media demands - including the major interest in El Paso in the swashbuckling star from Tigers Bay.

"He has dealt with the media attention this week, of which there has been a lot, the way I knew he would - very, very well," said McGuigan. "He's a consummate professional and all the press love him and that's why he took up a lot of time and attention during the media work-out earlier this week. All the boxing scribes wanted to spend time with him and hear his story.

"Carl can become a truly global star and this fight in El Paso is a crucial launching pad. Some may wonder why El Paso, the fight could have been anywhere - it's not about that, it's about going into 200million homes in America, it's about the terrestrial TV in the States and he gets prime time in the UK. You can't get much better than that.

"My ambitions for Carl are that he will become one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world. The next four years are going to be very exciting for Carl.

"If he wants it, Carl can have fights that will mean he'll never have to work for the rest of his life.

"We just have to make sure we choose the right path, the right fights at the right time.

"We're live on CBS and ITV... CBS were the people who covered my fights with commentators Tim Ryan, Gil Clancy and Sugar Ray Leonard and now we have them covering Carl.

"It is amazing the number of similarities between his career and mine."

Belfast Telegraph


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