Northern Ireland’s first ever two-weight world champion Carl Frampton believes an anti-Northern Ireland bias might explain his ommission from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist.
The Jackal, speaking on BBC radio this morning, also pointed to the ommission of two-time world superbike champion Johnathan Rae and triple paralympic gold medallist Bethany Firth from the 16-person shortlist.
Carl Frampton is currently in training for what may be the most anticipated fight in world boxing, his rematch with Mexican superstar Leo Santa Cruz.
The Jackal defeated Santa Cruz in a thrilling bout in Brooklyn, New York at the end of July. Frampton’s victory was given Ring magazine’s prestigious ‘Fight of the Year’ award and has seen him become the first boxer from Ireland ever to win world titles at two different weight divisions.
Asked on The Nolan Show about missing out on the Sports Personality shortlist, Carl Frampton said: “I am slightly disappointed, especially since they extended the list and there was no space for me. I unified a title and I moved up and beat a three-weight world champion - both fights on the road as well. I am not going to complain about that. I didn’t get picked for whatever reason. I feel like there’s people on that list that I deserve to be on in front of. Andy Murray is going to run away with it. He is going to win it and deservedly so but I still feel that out of the 16 I would have liked to get in - but ah well.
“I feel like I should have got on but Johnny Rea also had a shout. Bethany Firth also had a shout. I think maybe, well it looks to me, maybe anti-boxing, maybe anti-Northern Ireland. Listen, I am not going to cry about it and I will get on with my career.”
Pressed further on the issue, Frampton said: “There’s no one on it from Northern Ireland. There’s five Yorkshiremen on it. I just feel like at least one of the three that I mentioned should have got on.”
Asked if he thought he would have been on the list had he been English, he replied: “Yes.
“They look favourably towards them. Nichola Adams for example - she is English, she is female, she got on the list.
She had an incredible achievement, an Olympic gold medal - her second one actually - but I believe that if she was on it that I should have been on it too.”
Jonathan Rea this year claimed a World Superbike title for the second year in a row. Bethany Firth, meanwhile, was the most decorated athlete in Rio but still missed out behind three other Paralympians.
There are 16 people in the running for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
They are: Nicola Adams, boxing, Gareth Bale, football; Alistair Brownlee, triathlon; Sophie Christiansen, equestrian; Kadeena Cox, athletics / cycling; Mo Farah, athletics; Jason Kenny - cycling; Laura Kenny - cycling; Andy Murray - tennis; Adam Peaty - swimming; Kate Richardson-Walsh - hockey; Nick Skelton - equestrian; Dame Sarah Storey - cycling; Jamie Vardy - football; Max Whitlock - gymnastics, Danny Willett - golf.