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Frampton v Quigg - Jackal fans give Scott Quigg a taste of what's to come

By David Kelly

If there was any confirmation needed about the magnitude of Carl Frampton's showdown with Scott Quigg, it was rubber stamped in 24-carat gold by a wild, unprecedented press conference in the Europa Hotel.

Quigg's promoter Eddie Hearn and coach Joe Gallagher walked into a cauldron of hostility, while Frampton and manager Barry McGuigan milked the passion flowing their way - with renditions of 'There's only one Carl Frampton' and chants of 'Who are ya', intermittently holding up proceedings.

Adam Smith, the head of Sky boxing chaired matters as best he could as the Jackal Army's passion threatened to lift the roof off the Europa's grand ballroom. In the history of the super-bantamweight division in the UK there simply hasn't ever been a clash like it.

The IBF and WBA World super-bantamweight title clash on February 27 at the Manchester Arena has caught the public's imagination, with flights, coaches and ferries already booked and co-promoters Eddie Hearn and Cyclone Promotions know they are guaranteed a killing at the box office as well as the pay-per-view sales - the fight expected to be confirmed as a Sky Box Office event in the coming weeks.

Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan said: "We will have the most support on February 27, it will feel like Belfast and if he thinks it will not be then he's deluding himself - he doesn't have the support that Carl has. When we walk in there on February 27 it will feel like we're boxing in the SSE Arena.

"It's a massive attraction, so much so that the Manchester Arena have said that including concerts, no other event has had interest like it."

When Hearn was invited to the mic, he was met with a chorus of boos and the 'Who are ya' chants and as he sought to speak the Matchroom boxing was initially drowned out before making an announcement that could easily have been overlooked. "I miss coming to Belfast, you've been starved of top class televised boxing and we'll be coming here in April with our new signing Ryan Burnett."

Then as he added: "I've got some terrible news for you" he was halted in his tracks by a sharp quip from one member of the Jackal Army: "You're getting a face lift!" Even Hearn smiled at that one, before insisting: "The bad news is this man is going to knock your man out and I think some of you already know it.

"You saw what Scott did to Kiko Martinez, you saw what happened to Frampton in America … it's going to be a lonely flight home for you guys."

Frampton's fans naturally let him know what they thought of that and then followed a series of spicy verbal exchanges with Quigg insisting he would hand the Belfast man his first defeat, by knockout.

"I'm the better fighter in every department," insisted Frampton, who had to wait for a while as his fans chanted his name.

"I have to say that I have the best fans in the world. I could never have imagined when I started out that it would get as big as this and I feel very honoured and privileged to have the support that I do - we'll be taking over Manchester come February 27.

"I know that I can make this fight very easy for myself if I am smart."

The animosity between both camps was evident, as it has been for the past three days as they went to London and Manchester as part of the media tour to build up interest ahead of tickets going on sale tomorrow at 9am - Cyclone Promotions recommending Frampton fans to go on to the Manchester Arena website to get their tickets.

Promoter Hearn staged many of Frampton's early fights, including his European title victory over Kiko Martinez and he had made the claim that Frampton would defeat Quigg. Now his opinion has changed.

"I think a lot has changed since then. July 18 showed us a lot about the two fighters. Scott Quigg's defeat of Kiko Martinez was very impressive, Carl Frampton's win in America wasn't and I think that has changed everybody's opinion.

"I believe that this is a fight that Scott Quigg wins easily. This is a huge fight, a fight that not only the UK but the world will be watching."

On that last comment everyone was in agreement, it is a fight to savour and will go down as one of Northern Ireland's biggest ever sporting occasions.

As Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan said, "It reminds me of my time, it's as big if not bigger."

Belfast Telegraph


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