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Dejected Carl Frampton will get home, regroup and roar again

By Ruth Gorman in Las Vegas

What a fighter, what a man. Carl Frampton showed his class to the world once again in the iconic venue of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

He may not have the belt to show for his phenomenal efforts inside the ring, but he gained so much more respect than he already had from his actions outside it.

In his first interview straight after the fight, gracious Frampton congratulated Leo Santa Cruz on his victory, adding that he felt the judges got it right and then apologising to the travelling fans for the loss.

Social media went into overdrive as those who had stayed up or set their alarms to watch back home reassured Frampton that he had absolutely no reason to be sorry.

Here, "there's only one Carl Frampton" resounded around the Las Vegas strip into the small hours of yesterday morning. "We're so proud of him and we always will be," the fans standing outside the arena to get a glimpse of their hero told me after the press conference.

And yesterday, hundreds of the Jackal army turned out at the Nine Fine Irishmen bar to cheer on their champion.

I spoke to Carl's wife Christine in the bar.

"We're devastated, Carl feels like he has let the fans down," she said.

"But to have fans turn out like this win, lose or draw is amazing. We are so grateful and humbled by it all."

Their children Carla and Rossa couldn't make the long trip to Las Vegas but sent messages of support from back home.

Carl told me: "I spoke to them on FaceTime this morning.

"I can't wait to get home and see them.

"I am gutted, I really am but I hope we can settle it with a third fight and I want that to be in Belfast.

"These fans have travelled for me, it's time for me to repay them now."

Carl's mum Flo is determined that her son will return to the ring stronger after the disappointment of tasting his first defeat.

"We are so proud of him after everything he has achieved," she said.

"We are overwhelmed by the support he has received. It's been amazing to see the amount of fans who have travelled out here to watch him and I know so many people got up in the small hours of the morning back home to support him also.

"I believe he will be back stronger after this."

It's a feeling that no athlete wants to experience. Frampton has spoken to me in the past about the fear of losing and disappointing everyone.

As he returns home to his family and friends, he'll hopefully begin to realise that he hasn't let anyone down Far from it.

Frampton will come again.

Ruth Gorman is UTV Sport Correspondent. Watch her reports from Las Vegas this afternoon and evening

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