Carl Frampton promises Belfast fans Windsor Park title fight

Carl Frampton shows off his WBA featherweight belt to fans at Belfast City Hall on Friday night
Carl Frampton shows off his WBA featherweight belt to fans at Belfast City Hall on Friday night

Northern Ireland’s boxing champion Carl Frampton has vowed to become the first Irishman to win world titles at three different weights.

The north Belfast fighter outscored tough Mexican Leo Santa Cruz in Brooklyn to take the WBA featherweight title last month.

Carl Framptons daughter Carla shared the spotlight with her dad

Carl Framptons daughter Carla shared the spotlight with her dad

The victory earned The Jackal the belt his manager Barry McGuigan won in 1985 and follows his super-bantamweight championship victory after he stepped up a division.

He appeared at a special homecoming event in the grounds of Belfast City Hall on Friday night with promoter McGuigan, coach Shane McGuigan and daughters Carla and Rossa as he promised a fight before a home crowd in the city’s Windsor Park stadium next summer.

He said: “(I am) the only Northern Irishman to win a world title in two divisions, only the second ever Irishman after Steve Collins to win world titles in two different divisions, I would like to have a go at three and stand out on my own.”

A potential rematch with Santa Cruz or a tilt at the IBF champion Lee Selby are in Frampton’s thoughts.

Carl Frampton gives a thumbs up to the crowd as he arrives on stage

Carl Frampton gives a thumbs up to the crowd as he arrives on stage

He said a fight with Selby could come before Christmas.

“Selby is a great fighter, he is someone I respect, I think he is very good, but I just believe me at featherweight now, I don’t think there is anyone stopping me, I just feel so strong and whoever wants it next can get it.”

He added: “I am in the driving seat, I can call the shots, but we will see where we go, I will let the team decide, but I love Belfast and I want to fight here as much as possible.

“I want to fight here at least once a year and Windsor Park in the summer would be a dream come true.”

These two young fans got a chance to see their hero

These two young fans got a chance to see their hero

He said he thought he won last month’s fight by two or three rounds.

“When a fighter smiles at you, you can tell that something is wrong and they are trying to play a game. I knew that I was hurting him throughout the fight.

“I fought with my heart rather than my head at times. I could have made the fight much easier for myself but to be honest I was glad that it was a good fight. It is good for my legacy having fights like that with Santa Cruz.”

Frampton was welcomed to Belfast by thousands of fans who gathered on the lawns of the City Hall to celebrate the victory.

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were there to pay tribute to his brilliance.

Barry McGuigan said his fighter was magnificent and fought the fight of the year.

“We have had some amazing fighters in Northern Ireland and in Ireland, 40, 50 incredible fighters but I honestly think Frampton can go down as one of the best of all time – he is that good.”

He added: “He is one of the best fighters I have ever set eyes on.”

The promoter – once known as the Clones Cyclone – said his boxer could throw a punch, he could box going backwards and forwards, he was exceptionally tough and calm under pressure.

“He never loses his composure and he is always magnificently prepared.

“Frampton is unbelievably talented and he is going to want bigger and better things. We have not reached the top of the mountain yet – we really haven’t.”

He said he needed a stadium to hold 20,000 people.

“In order to get him into the hall of fame, to get his name up in lights and to get him into the top ten in the world, we need to get him into America as well.”