Belfast Telegraph

Carl Frampton to put on big talent show

By David Kelly

Even as he sat watching ‘The Voice’, Carl Frampton couldn’t quite switch off from what is going to be by far the biggest test of his career — on a global stage.

Tomorrow night in Nottingham Frampton will battle with unbeaten Mexican Raul Hirales knowing that a top 10 ranking in the world is at stake, along with the IBF inter-continental title.

The Commonwealth champion knows he is leaving the domestic scene behind and, with due respect to the likes of Kris Hughes, Mexican Hirales is a totally different proposition.

Allied to the fact he will be seen live across 20 countries, including the States, the Belfast man will surely feel a new pressure?

“Well, I was watching The Voice and Tom Jones said that ‘it’s only pressure if you can’t handle it’.

“I know I can handle it because this is the kind of fight I’ve been craving and I have always believed the better the opponent the better I box,” said Frampton, who is the main supporting fight to the IBF World super-middleweight showdown between Nottingham’s Carl Froch and champion Lucien Bute — the man who 12 months ago stopped Belfast’s Brian Magee.

The unbeaten 25-year-old, who during his amateur days always seemed to rise to the big occasion, does admit that he has made some changes to his lifestyle as the interest in him and those he is fighting — or not as the case may be with Rendall Munroe and Scott Quigg — intensifies.

“I used to be on Facebook and Twitter all the time but I’ve gone off them now — I’m not interested in dealing with the keyboard warriors out there,” he added.

“I think I’m a pretty decent guy and I’m happy to communicate with people but it was starting to get ridiculous and some of the things people were saying about me I couldn’t repeat, it was very vulgar — I just don’t need that when I’m focusing on taking my career forward.

“Some people might think that taking on this guy is too soon but I’ve no doubt that I’m ready,” Frampton said.

“It’s going to be a tough fight, the guy is a very good boxer but I’ve seen weaknesses and it’s up to me to exploit them.

“We had been trying to make the fights with Quigg and Munroe and they just didn’t want it and that was frustrating but this Mexican guy would beat either one of them.

“If I can beat this guy then I’m into the top 10 in the world, I’ll have left Munroe and Quigg behind and I’ll be a lot closer to my dream of a world title fight.

“It’s going to be a massive occasion, I’m the main support to one of the biggest fights of the year, it’s a worldwide stage and it’s up to me to shine on it.”

Frampton’s preparation has been as meticulous as ever under the watchful eye of manager Barry McGuigan with several sparring partners feeling his solid punches, including many who were a lot heavier.

“I know that everybody says that they are in great shape but I can honestly say that I have not sparred better than the way I have for this fight,” he added.

“I believe that I belong at world class level and a win against Hirales can open the door to a big fight back in Belfast on September

8 which would put me on course for a world title shot so there’s a lot on the line.”

Indeed, Irish boxing legend McGuigan and promoter Eddie Hearn look set to put in place a world title eliminator in September for Frampton should he come through with an impressive win against Hirales.

The IBF champion Jeffrey Mathelua is on the Frampton radar and the Belfast man could now be only two wins away from taking on the South African.

Pressure, what pressure?

Belfast Telegraph


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