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McGuigan fires up Frampton for European bid

By David Kelly

Saturday night's European title fight raises the stakes in terms of Carl Frampton's career, but it is also an examination of his young coach Shane McGuigan – and he knows it.

The 23-year-old, who has set up his gym in Battersea, was handed the task by dad Barry to bring out in the best in Commonwealth champion Frampton, who challenges Spanish bull Kiko Martinez for the EBU's super-bantamweight belt at the Odyssey Arena.

So far so good as 25-year-old Frampton has rattled up 15 straight wins but now meets hard-hitting Martinez, noted for knocking out former World champion Bernard Dunne and a record of 27 wins and three defeats, which includes 19 knockouts.

Shane is aware that some in the boxing fraternity would have held question marks over his ability as a coach having not boxed professionally, but it is an issue that he takes in his stride as he counts down to fight night.

"It's a big challenge for me because this is Carl's big test and people are quick to doubt me and what I can do because I'm young, but that's because they don't see what we're doing every day," said Shane.

"I understand people doubt me, but I'm going to prove them wrong. I'm young, I didn't end up going into to the pro game, but all my life I've been around professional boxing.. I've known the sport throughout my life.

"I enjoy being around the game, but I don't enjoy everybody in the game because there's a lot of haters in the game. But you just have to rise above it and get on with it and it will be good to see Carl's hand raised at the end of the fight because there's only going to be one winner in this fight."

While Shane goes about his daily work with Frampton with a clam assurance, there is a deep confidence in his ability to develop fighters, but without a hint of arrogance.

"You can see since I came on board since the Robbie Turley fight Carl's performances have gone through the roof, if I may say so myself. He's become a much more all-round fighter. He's always been able to go forward, but we have really refined him going back, making him into that box-fighter that he is," said Shane.

"He's got incredibly explosive feet and amazing punching power, but his speed has gone up massively.

"We always work on him getting up on his toes and using his skills, he does it so naturally but never used it... he likes to plant feet and land the bomb.

"We also had to make him realise that he can go flat out, that he has a great engine... the way dad and I fought was very similar throwing lots of punches. If dad said to me, do 10 rounds and 300 punches I'd do that, but Carl's a lot smarter than me or dad!

"He's a lot more precise and more of a punch picker, he picks them well.

"When I take him on the pads he's just a ball of explosion, he hits so hard. We haven't come close to seeing just how explosive his power is and that's because guys have been running away from him."

For Shane it is not simply about working out on the pads and watching over sparring, but also the diet Frampton sticks rigidly to and also the time he spends working on weights, while the traditional long distance running is not a part of the Belfast man's preparation.

"We are refining his diet each time we get ready for a fight.We did a little cleanse of his system after Christmas, in second week of January. We added a few more superfoods, shakes just for a week and his weight came down, it cleans the system and his energy levels went through the roof.

"He's leaner than any fight before, his body fat will be at three per cent and he's feeling very strong. We do a lot of sprints, we don't do long runs because in boxing you work for three minutes and then rest, you have to explosive.

"I may be younger than him but he respects me as a coach. I spend more time with him than I do with my missus!"

As for Saturday night's outcome, he has no doubt it will be painful for Martinez.

"We respect Kiko's power, but we'll beat him up and take him out."

Belfast Telegraph


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