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Watch: 'Loudest ever' SSE Arena crowd gave Frampton goosebumps during comeback victory

By Gareth Hanna

The Belfast boxing fans outdid themselves at the SSE Arena on Saturday evening, according to Carl Frampton.

Frampton edged out relentless Mexican Horacio Garcia while Paddy Barnes worked his way into the WBO's top 10 by winning the Inter-Continental Flyweight title and Jamie Conlan produced a gutsy performance despite losing his World title fight with Jerwin Ancajas.

And all three of Belfast's boxing heroes heaped praise on the crowd after their bouts.

"I suppose I wanted to please the fans," said Frampton, after his 10-rounder turned into more of a nail-biter than many had been expecting. "They're unbelievable. There was one point when they were singing 'it's the Ulster boys making all the noise' that I got goosebumps because it was the loudest I had ever heard the arena."

The all-inclusive nature of the night was what caught beaten Conlan's attention as he endured a tough evening's action.

"The crowd was amazing," he praised. "Where else would you hear the Ulster boys being sung along with the Ole song - that's what this sport does, it brings everyone together and I feel very honoured that I heard everyone getting behind me. It meant a lot because I'm heartbroken at how it went."

And after Barnes took another step towards a World title fight of his own, he made sure to thank the crowd for the part they played in his success.

"The way they chanted my name and got behind me was inspirational. It does make you want to go out and entertain," he reflected.

"You can see that when it comes to a Carl Frampton fight night in Belfast it is a real event, people are there to have a good time as much as enjoy the boxing, and if I could, I'd enjoy that every week.

"I've boxed in front of some great audiences but I haven't had an atmosphere like that before for any of my fights."

Reflecting on his slip that was given as a knockdown by referee Victor Loughlin, Frampton backed the decision and blamed his choice of footwear.

"The ring was a bit wet and me being silly, I got new boots and I had only worn them twice, I should have broken them in more," he said. "In fairness to Victor Loughlin after I slipped, he caught me so that's a knockdown.

"I think I would have had to hit him with a sledgehammer to knock him over… the thing is that I have a big target on my back because I'm the meal ticket to the big time for everyone in the featherweight division so for him that was his world title fight.

"It was a good fight for the crowd. I think people enjoyed it. I did some good things but I also got dragged into his fight and did some bad things. I made some mistakes, mistakes that I'll rectify the next time."

Frampton is expected to return to the ring in spring before lining up a potential shot at a World title next summer.

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