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Carl Frampton his new US fans eager for more

A banner across the top of the Don Haskins Centre in the University of El Paso, Texas, recalls their great NCAA basketball title victory of 1966, a feat that was turned into the movie 'Glory Road', writes David Kelly.

As with most success, it is rarely a linear path to the top and so it was with those basketball heroes of yesteryear who had to deal with racial tension among other things on their way to becoming College kings.

World champion Carl Frampton will leave El Paso reminded that his own route to becoming a truly global boxing star will always have the odd bump in the road and that every base needs to be covered to pursue excellence but sometimes a little apparent vulnerability goes a long way to becoming an attraction.

The Mexican fans were in full voice when the champion was on the canvas. Yet when it came to the final minutes of the fight, the cheers of 'Frampton, Frampton, Frampton' echoed around the arena and American television company CBS, who were screening the fight coast to coast, revealed that the little Belfast dynamo had made his mark on the viewing public.

Some of those cheering on Frampton from start to finish were Stacey and Rab from Belfast, who interrupted their holiday in Florida to jet down to back the Jackal.

Stacey explained: "My sister has a place in Florida so we were able to leave the kids with her, which allowed us to come and support Carl. We have followed him all the way and we didn't want to miss this."

They were not the only ones expecting a performance to remember from the Jackal as experienced boxing writer Felix Chavez of the El Paso Times was also sitting at ringside in anticipation of Frampton's arrival.

"Carl has really made an impression with everybody here in El Paso. There's been a really good buzz about him and of course many people remember what Barry McGuigan did 30 years ago," said Felix.

The Tex-Mex crowd slowly but surely made their way into the arena for a bill which started at the unusual time of 11.30am with Coalisland's Conrad Cummings the show opener.

This was the matinee show ahead of the evening bill which was to feature middleweight star Julio Cesar Chavez jr so there wasn't the usual vibe and raucous atmosphere Frampton is so used to at the Odyssey Arena but he did have the 3,000 fans enjoying his entrance to the tune of 'Tell Me Ma'.

The odd Belfast cry of "Come on Carl!" could be heard just before the opening bell and throughout the 12 rounds, at the end of which the Jackal had won over every one of them with his true grit - a quality which transcends any language barrier.

It had been hot and heavy inside the ropes and as the fans made their way out of the arena, they walked into 105 degree heat.

They needed a place to sit down and relax, just like Team Frampton.

Belfast Telegraph


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