Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders supporter Carl Frampton hoping for super Saturday

By David Kelly

Carl Frampton is hoping to enjoy a sporting double today with his beloved Crusaders going for Cup glory and the Belfast man making the first defence of his Commonwealth super-bantamweight title.

Frampton would have been in the stand at the Ballymena Showgrounds for the Irn-Bru League Cup final between the Crues and Coleraine only he has the small matter of defending his belt against Scotland’s Kris Hughes in the York Hall, Bethnel Green.

The 24-year-old admits he will be keeping a close eye on the match, assuming it doesn’t cut across his preparations for the clash with Hughes which will see him top of the bill on Sky Sports for the first time.

“I’m disappointed that I can’t be there for the match because it’s a big game for the club — the Crues seem to be having a lot more big games these days,” said Frampton.

“I think it’s going to be a tight match but I think the lads will do it. I’m hoping to get to see it on TV but then again I might be having a sleep at that time ahead of my fight.

“It would be a great day if the Crues could bring back the Cup and I do the business against Hughes.”

Frampton has been putting in a great deal of hard work over the past two months leading up to a fight which he hopes will give him the perfect launching pad for 2012.

Working with manager Barry McGuigan’s son Shane in their Kent gym as well as travelling around Britain for top quality sparring, Frampton is convinced that he is ready to give the best performance of his short career so far, keeping him on track for a March 17 date at Madison Square Garden.

“I know that fighters always say they are in really good shape but trust me, I’m in the best condition of my life,” said Frampton, who has sparred 160 rounds.

“I’m not looking too far ahead because I know that Kris Hughes has the ability to make life very awkward for me. He’s a decent boxer and I’m sure that he’ll try to keep things at range but I know that I’ll catch up with him.

“He's been saying a few things to reporters and online that I'm not worth the hype and so on. That's the sort of thing that motivates me so he's probably made his first mistake there as that will give me extra drive.

“I haven’t taken my foot off the gas, I’m learning all the time in the gym and I just want to go in there and show people what I’ve got.”

Meanwhile, at the National Stadium in Dublin tonight Michael Conlan is expected to move through to the final of the flyweight division at the Irish senior championships.

Defending champion Conlan, of St John Bosco, should be too hot for Shane Roche of Corinthians, while Sean McComb of Holy Trinity will seek to pull off a huge upset by defeating John Joe Nevin at bantamweight.

Willie McLaughlin faces defending welterweight champion Adam Nolan and Conrad Cummings takes on middleweight champion Darren O’Neill.

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