Carl Frampton has said his biggest career achievement has been his loyal fan base and support as he released an emotional statement reflecting on his career as a boxer.
The Belfast fighter announced his retirement in the ring after being stopped by the WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring in Dubai on Saturday night.
Frampton (34) said he “can’t express how thankful” he is to the legion of fans who supported him as part of the Jackal Army across the world.
“I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined,” he said in a statement on Tuesday night.
“Celtic, Commonwealth and European titles, winning my first world title at home in a purpose-built arena, the sold-out nights defending that title at the Odyssey, unifying a division, defeating a top ten pound for pound guy, winning a title in a second division against the odds, Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year, MBE, and fulfilling a dream by fighting and winning in front of a packed Windsor Park.”
But all that fades in comparison to the support of his fan base.
“I can’t express how thankful I am to the army of fans who made those nights in the Odyssey so atmospheric, the 16,000 that saw me win my first title at home on that special night, the 15,000 who travelled to Manchester the night we took over and I unified, and the thousands that travelled to the States to watch me fight a great champion in Leo Santa Cruz.” he said.
“The outpouring of respect that I have received since my defeat to Herring has been immense and I thank all who have said kind words to me,” he added.
Frampton said he took on Saturday’s fight with the intention to retire afterwards. “I made a promise to myself and to my wife and kids – the most important people in my life – that whatever the result, that was my last one,” he said.
“Christine has made sacrifices that I am eternally grateful for. I owe her so much and now I would love to help her chase her own dreams.”
He also wants to repay the support offered to him by his own city and community. “It is my turn now to repay some of that and to take on the new challenge of helping others as they have helped me in the past.”
Frampton said to those following their own dreams: “If you want it enough you can get it.”
“I was 7 years old when I joined Midland/White City ABC and I learnt early on that resilience and determination was the only difference between me, and the many other kids who I lost to growing up,” he said.
Frampton thanked his late mentor Billy McKee, his parents and his management. “Thank you to everyone that has played a part in my career over the last 27 years, big or small, and the biggest thank you to my wife Christine and children Carla and Rossa.
“You will always come first.”