Belfast Telegraph

Haye’s guru tipping Carl Frampton for the top

By David Kelly

Carl Frampton was just going about his daily business of working over a series of sparring partners, unaware of the impression he was making on a man who has two of Britain’s top fighters and for whom praise is a commodity not to be wasted.

Adam Booth, dubbed ‘The Dark Lord’ by Commonwealth super-middleweight champion George Groves, guided David Haye to World cruiserweight and heavyweight titles and is currently negotiating a clash with Vitali Klitschko for the Londoner.

Recently at Booth’s Gym at Vauxhall Gym, London Frampton was continuing his preparations for the first defence of his Commonwealth super-bantamweight title this Saturday night against Kris Hughes and Haye’s guru took more than a passing glance.

Booth said: “I’m not a boxing fan, I don’t watch that much boxing and I don’t take an interest in many fighters, I focus on my own coaching, but I must say that I saw enough of Frampton to be intrigued.

“From what I saw he has improved a lot and he’s very strong for the weight. I had seen him in a couple of fights in his early career and he has improved dramatically. He has gained a lot more ring savy.

“I would say that he has the ingredients to become a World class fighter. The line between being a World class fighter and a World champion can be thin but it can also be a big step. But from what I saw in the gym I was impressed and I’ll be keeping my eye on him — I’ll be watching his fight on Saturday night and there’s not many fighters I would sit down to watch.”

While Frampton is eager to move on to the European and World stage as quickly as possible, Booth feels there does not need to be any rush towards the big league.

“I think a fight between him and Scott Quigg would be a very good marker at this stage,” said Booth. “It’s all about gaining experience and maturing not just as a fighter but also as a person so when you fight for the World title you are ready to not just win it but also to be able to defend it.

“I’m looking forward to seeing just how far he goes.”

While Booth will be keeping an eye on Frampton in his first defence this Saturday night at the York Hall Bethnel Green on Sky, he also plotting the path of Groves towards World title success as well as aiming to agree terms for Haye to clash with WBC heavyweight champion Klitschko, whose next defence comes next month against Londoner Dereck Chisora. Booth has no doubt about the outcome.

“I can see that fight going only one way. I think Vitali will stop him,” added Booth, who is once again being frustrated by negotiations with the Klitschko camp.

“This is the fourth time I have been in negotiations with the Klitschkos and I’ve only ever got one fight out of it.

“We seem to have agreed many points and now it’s down to a couple more and then hopefully we can get the contract signed.

“At the moment the Klitschkos seem to be saying more in public than they are actually saying in private to us.” As for Groves, who

shocked Olympic gold medalist James DeGale last year, Booth said: “He needs to mature a lot more before I would consider him to be a top ten in the world fighter.” Belfast man Frampton will be hoping to show some of those world class “ingredients” against Hughes, knowing victory will rubber stamp a date at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s night on the supporting bill to Matthew Macklin’s World middleweight title clash with Sergio Martinez.

Hughes, 24, has lost only once in 16 fights and that was on points in a Commonwealth super-bantamweight title fight in October 2012 to Jamie Arthur.

Frampton will start favourite but for the Belfast man it is not just about winning but also producing a performance to turn a few more heads in his direction.

He has clearly made a believer out of Booth and manager Barry McGuigan’s belief has never waivered. Now he wants to win over paymasters Sky.

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