Boxers trade verbal blows as Wayne McCullough rubbishes Carl Frampton's title defence
The gloves are off as a spat between two of Northern Ireland's most famous boxers turns ugly.
An angry Carl Frampton has hit back at recent criticism of his IBF World title defence by Wayne McCullough.
The Pocket Rocket irked Frampton with a series of provocative posts on Twitter following his victory against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr last weekend.
After a laboured win, McCullough accused the 28-year-old of making excuses for a below-par performance.
But Frampton responded angrily, claiming he had lost respect for his boyhood hero.
"He's someone who I respected so much. I've lost a bit of respect for him now," Frampton told the Nolan Show.
"It just annoyed me, someone who I looked up to having a go."
He also accused McCullough - a former WBC bantamweight title-holder who lives in the US - of seeking attention.
The spat unfolded after the Jackal's unanimous points win over Gonzalez in El Paso, Texas, last weekend. He recovered from being knocked down twice in the opening round by the unheralded Mexican to retain his IBF super-bantamweight title.
Frampton admitted it was a sloppy performance on his American debut.
And McCullough was far from impressed, tweeting: "He fought a nobody and struggled, pulling himself off the canvas twice against a non-puncher and then made excuses".
He also wrote: "People are complaining that I have an opinion. I'm a big Carl fan but not a fan of how he fought that fight."
And apparently referring to Frampton's post-fight interviews, he posted: "Excuses, excuses".
The remarks drew an angry backlash from the Jackal's supporters. Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes accused McCullough of jealousy. "I'm a fan of yours, Wayne, and while I like your honesty, you really sound like a jealous man," he said.
And Frampton pulled no punches when asked about the matter yesterday. "I don't know what Wayne's problem is," he said.
"I've always said that McCullough has been a hero of mine. Growing up as a kid, he was someone who I admired and looked up to. Recently, and it's not only this, he's said a few things about me, personally, and I don't know what his problem is. Maybe he's jealous? I don't know. You would have to ask him. I don't really pay too much attention to Wayne."
Asked if he was hurt by the comments, Frampton added: "It was a bit annoying at the time. There's been negativity thrown my way, obviously because it wasn't one of my best performances, but the support has far outweighed the negativity.
"If you let that sort of stuff affect you, then you wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. I just get on with it. I don't really care."
In one post, McCullough stated Gonzalez was "not known as a puncher". Frampton responded by referring to McCullough's defeat to fellow Mexican Daniel Zaragoza in 1997.
"Wayne forgets that he fought a guy called Daniel Zaragoza and got beat by him," he said. "He was a good fighter, but he fought him about two months before his 40th birthday. A 40-year-old boxing at super-bantamweight - it's usually the heavier guys that go on a bit longer.
"That's probably the equivalent of a 50-year-old heavyweight, and he got beat by him.
"He can say what he wants. I don't really care. He's out there in LA, doing his thing, and he can say what he wants. I think he's just trying to get back in the limelight."
Frampton, from Tiger's Bay, is the IBF world super-bantamweight champion. He turned professional after his victory in the 2009 Irish featherweight finals and won his first professional title, the Celtic super-bantamweight title, in December 2010. Over the next four years, he posted victories against the likes of Kiko Martínez. Frampton challenged for his first world title in September 2014 in a rematch against Martinez in Belfast and won by unanimous decision. He retained his title in fights against Chris Avalos in February and Alejandro Gonzalez Jr on his American debut last weekend.
Belfast-born fighter won gold at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. Two years into his professional career, he beat Yasuei Yakushiji, making him Ireland's first WBC world champion. He vacated the belt and moved up to challenge WBC super-bantamweight champion Daniel Zaragoza, losing in a split decision. Unsuccessfully challenged Naseem Hamed in 1998. Was to return to Belfast for a fight in 2000, but the bout was called off as McCullough was told he had a brain cyst. He was re-licensed in Nevada and fought again in January 2002. Now lives in the US and trains mixed martial arts.
What they said:
"He fought a nobody and struggled, pulling himself off the canvas twice against a non-puncher, and then made excuses."
"I haven't fought him (Gonzalez Jr), but the guy is not known as a puncher."
"I'm a big Carl fan but not a fan of how he fought that fight."
"I don't know what Wayne's problem is. Maybe he's jealous?"
"He's someone who I respected so much. I've lost a bit of respect for him now."
"He's out there in LA, doing his thing, and he can say what he wants. I think he's just trying to get back in the limelight."