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Carl Frampton a box office smash

By David Kelly

Manager Barry McGuigan believes the fanatical support found in the Odyssey Arena will tip the balance of any world title fight in Carl Frampton's favour.


While there has been talk of possibly having a world title shot at Ravenhill or even Seaview, the home of his favourite football team Crusaders, McGuigan says the Odyssey is the perfect venue for the Tiger's Bay man to reach the sport's summit.

Just as the King's Hall became his fortress, McGuigan now believes the spine-tingling Odyssey atmosphere generated by 9,000 passionate Frampton fans is a crucial factor in his success.

"When I boxed at the King's Hall, the atmosphere used to scare some of my opponents. I remember Bernard Taylor coming in my first defence of the World title and he was scared stiff, you could see it.

"And I can see the Odyssey having that effect on Carl's opponents and when you're in a world title fight you want to have every advantage and the support he receives is second to none."

McGuigan also revealed that Saturday night's fanatical support for the Jackal has already had a major impact on the bosses at TV station BoxNation who screened the inaugural Cyclone Promotions show.

"The CEO of BoxNation Jim McMunn came in to the dressing room afterwards and said it was the best night they had had in the history of the channel," said McGuigan.

"They were just blown away by the atmosphere and it really is something else – it's a great venue, a real cauldron, but it's the Northern Ireland fans who make it, they're amazing.

"And having witnessed that, BoxNation will back us in trying to bring the World title fight to Belfast.

"And we'll be making a big offer to whoever is the champion after December 21."

South African Jeffrey Mathebula will challenge IBF super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez – who Frampton knocked out in February to win the European title – in Spain in December in what is a mandatory defence of the belt for the Spaniard.

Whoever comes out of the ring as the champion is the entitled to make a voluntary defence against someone in the top 15 – or even have a unification fight with one of the other champions.

The only way that Frampton can be guaranteed a shot at the winner of Martinez-Mathebula in 2014 is to be installed as the new number one challenger, which is expected to happen over the coming months. Promoter McGuigan believes that he can offer enough money so that Carl is the next challenger, in Belfast in late February, early March.

"Money talks so we'll see how they react to the offer we make to face Carl in Belfast," said McGuigan.

BoxNation boss McMunn, speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, hailed Saturday's spectacle at the Odyssey as "phenomenal".

McMunn added: "We have done shows like Chisora against Haye and Ricky Burns against Kevin Mitchell and it was right up there with them.

"From the moment we got off the plane and got into the taxi people were talking about the fight and then when we walked into the arena, well it was just rocking.

"We believe that Carl is going to achieve his dream and become a world champion and we want to be with him all the way."

McMunn insisted that the station would be able to financially back McGuigan's promotional company Cyclone Promotions in their bid to secure a world title shot.

"We have a multi-fight long term agreement with Barry and Cyclone and we will be backing them to bring the world title fight to Belfast," added McMunn.

"As a company we are financially secure and our subscriber base is growing all the time. And we are also developing stronger and stronger links with the top American promoters like Top Rank and Golden Boy and the American channels HBO and Showtime which will also help Carl down the line.

"We are all about growing our subscriber base and having Carl is going to bring us more viewers without a doubt.

"The response we had from our viewers on Saturday night was fantastic. There's always a production premium coming to Northern Ireland but Carl more than justifies that."

Meanwhile, McGuigan believes that newly-crowned Irish featherweight champion Marc McCullough (left) has a bright future on the back of his victory on Saturday night.

McCullough, who was only having his ninth fight as a professional, cut down former European champion Willie Casey in the ninth round.

"I thought Marc McCullough was great on Saturday night. He really rose to the occasion and showed that he has a lot of potential.

"He still has things to work, he's still a baby but he can really push on over the next 12 months.

"And the same can be said for Jamie Conlan. There's a real chance of him having a big fight with Paul Butler next year."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph