Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Boxing

Carl Frampton victory and Northern Ireland's Euros adventure: The feel-good factor has just been lifted to a whole new level

By Ruth Gorman in New York

What a night, what a summer. First the Euro 2016 finals in France and now Carl Frampton - surely this will go down as the greatest ever summer for local sport.

What both have done for the whole of Ireland, north and south, is incredible.

To be at the Brooklyn Barclays Center to witness Frampton become the first Northern Irishman to be crowned a two weight world champion was an honour.

I've been privileged to follow his career from very early on and have been there throughout his rise to superstardom.

But not only is he a true champion, he's a genuine, selfless, humble family man who has become a good friend.

From the front row I watched Rory McIlroy, Michael O'Neill and Frank Lampard jump out of their seats to cheer on the Jackal.

I saw Barry McGuigan fight every round with Frampton and pray during each interval.

Everyone was already proud of what Frampton had achieved but when the words "and the new..." resounded around the arena, emotions were sky high.

Frampton's wife Christine was in tears , so was Barry and many of the Jackal Army.

McGuigan told me afterwards that he was thinking of his late brother Dermott at the end and how proud he would be of Carl and son Shane McGuigan, who guided him from the corner.

McIlroy told me he has never been as nervous about watching a sporting occasion in his life - and he's been in some pretty tense situations.

But it wasn't just fans who were in awe of the boxing legend.

"I've been in the industry for 35 years and I've never met a sports person like Carl Frampton, he's very special."

Those were the words of an American promoter who has been working with Frampton over the last month.

He told me how much he admires the Tigers Bay man, not only as an athlete but as a person.

The American media now also realise what a true talent he is.

The calibre of the champion is obvious as the travelling support was always going to pack out the venue.

Annie Moore's in Manhattan was packed to the rafters with jubilant Frampton fans.

He left a tab running for them to celebrate alongside him. What other sports star at the top of their game would do the same?

And as all lifted a glass to Frampton in New York, back home they were doing exactly the same.

Barry was the people's champion 31 years ago when he won the WBA World Featherweight title on a memorable London night.

Frampton has now followed in his footsteps by winning back the same belt.

Cheers Carl, we'll never forget your big night in the Big Apple.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph