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Carl Frampton

I would fight Jamel Herring for world title without supporters if I had to

Carl Frampton


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Fight on: Carl Frampton will face Jamel Herring but the details of when and where are as yet uncertain.

Fight on: Carl Frampton will face Jamel Herring but the details of when and where are as yet uncertain.

Fight on: Carl Frampton will face Jamel Herring but the details of when and where are as yet uncertain.

Boxing behind closed doors seems such an alien concept but if the sport is to get going again and fighters are to be able to earn a wage, it may come to that.

I know that Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have said they believe the Ryder Cup should not go ahead behind closed doors because it wouldn't be the same without the fans, and I understand that because I would have the same feeling about my fight with WBO world super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring.

But I also recognise that it might come to that for fights to take place and also while the Ryder Cup can afford to be suspended, 99% of professional fighters simply cannot afford to keep going without boxing when they are trying to put food on the table.

There has been some talk that big fights could happen behind closed doors but I would really, really hope that it doesn't come to that in the case of my clash with Herring. It would be such a shame if fans could not be there to create what would be an amazing atmosphere and I know that Bob Arum's Top Rank company, who promote my fights, feel the same way.

When I think of some of the great nights I've had, the fans have really played their part.

I can think of the time I was fighting Chris Avalos in the SSE Arena and the surge of noise that seemed to go right through my body as they willed me to go in and finish him off; or the sound when I knocked out Kiko Martinez; and the atmosphere when I made my way to the ring in the Manchester Arena to face Scott Quigg.

Those were times that I will always remember, so to have a world title fight behind closed doors would be surreal.

It would probably feel as if Herring and I were having a sparring session but with a world title on the line.

However, if the choice was between me fighting to become a three-weight world champion and not having that chance then I would grab it. It all just depends on how we all come out of this current circumstance.

I did a conference call with Herring a few days ago for Top Rank and he insists that with an eight-week camp he would be ready to go and I've said the same. We just need to see when it would be possible for mass gatherings to return and whether that would delay the fight too long into 2021 to have fans there to see it. If that was the case, then we may have to go behind closed doors.

It's a tough situation for fighters, TV and promoters but I do have a growing concern for those who box on smaller shows or undercards because the need for those guys to return to the ring is much greater.

They always rely on personal ticket sales to boost their purses but that wouldn't be the case if small shows went behind closed doors, so there would be a real concern about how viable that would be for smaller promoters to stage such a bill.

One idea I have - and I don't know if this can work - would be to have small shows kick off behind closed doors on a subscription streaming service through YouTube.

It wouldn't be ideal but guys who would normally pay £30 or £40 for a ticket to be at a show could pay £10 to watch the fight and still have some money to get some food and drink in while doing so. That way they see live sport and the guys they usually support would get a purse.

As for me, I'm keeping my mind on Herring.

My coach Jamie Moore and I had a chat and he gave me some drills to work on so I went out and did a punching session focusing on that.

Behind closed doors or not, I have to be ready.

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Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards. Carl Frampton and Michael O'Neill. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards. Carl Frampton and Michael O'Neill. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards. Carl Frampton and Michael O'Neill. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Magic Michael has shown who's boss

Michael O'Neill will go down as Northern Ireland's greatest manager, in my opinion.

It's sad that he has to move on because he did such a great job for the country.

I know that some will argue that Billy Bingham was the best manager we ever had but I think when you consider that Michael took us from our worst ranking to our best ranking and qualified for Euro 2016 with a great style of football, he deserves to be seen as the top man.

It was admirable that when he took over at Stoke City, Michael (right) still wanted to lead Northern Ireland to Euro qualification for a second time but with the current situation it's understandable that he felt he couldn't continue in the role.

I think a special mention should be given to the former IFA President Jim Shaw who, when things didn't look good for Michael, backed him and saw the bigger picture. It really paid off.

Michael was always a big supporter of mine and I'll always be a supporter of him. He improved so many players and made the whole team believe they could achieve great things.

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Cpt Tom Moore – Two time GWR title holder (/PA)

Cpt Tom Moore – Two time GWR title holder (/PA)

Cpt Tom Moore – Two time GWR title holder (/PA)

Moore to the point

I know a lot of people have expressed their admiration for Captain Tom Moore and I would like to add my own appreciation for the man who has inspired the public to donate around £30m for the NHS.

It shows the generosity of the British public and the respect they have for war heroes.

Captain Tom served his country in World War Two and he continues to do so in quite an amazing way.

I am back in the running

My mate Stevie Ward got so fed up with the whole lockdown situation that he decided to try and run a marathon with four litres of water on his back.

He made it to the 24-mile mark and then needed his wife to pick him up. Fair play to him for the effort.

Stevie did, however, get me motivated to try a half marathon, which is the longest I've ever run and I was disappointed with my time.

I wanted to do it under 90 minutes but my time was one hour 40.

I was very annoyed with myself. I was slowing down quite a bit near the end and I felt it the next day - so the challenge is that this week I will get that one hour 30 minutes mark.

Lessons have been one long string of disappointments

The strain of the coronavirus lockdown is starting to show in the Frampton household.

My guitar lessons have hit the buffers because it got to the point where I just wanted to smash it off the wall.

I think for me to progress I need someone beside me giving a lesson rather than watching YouTube videos. Let's just say I don't think I'll be setting up a band any time soon so the guitar is in lockdown as well.

My young son, Rossa, is also having some tense moments, which is understandable, though his sister wasn't impressed when she was talking to her friend who was in a car across the road and he ran up and shouted 'coronavirus!' and then bolted.

Belfast Telegraph