Frampton still a hero as Belfast bout beckons

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody (second left), DJ

Pete Snodden (third left) and radio and TV presenter Colin Murray (fourth left) with Frampton fans at ringside
Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody (second left), DJ Pete Snodden (third left) and radio and TV presenter Colin Murray (fourth left) with Frampton fans at ringside

Northern Irish sporting superstar Carl Frampton may have lost his rematch with Leo Santa Cruz but he has cemented his place in the hearts of boxing fans all over the world.

The Tiger’s Bay man won plaudits for the way he handled himself as he tasted defeat for the first time.

James Nesbitt (right) and Gary Lightbody pose for a selfie with a Frampton fan in the MGM Grand

James Nesbitt (right) and Gary Lightbody pose for a selfie with a Frampton fan in the MGM Grand

He couldn’t hide his disappointment but still found time to congratulate his opponent.

Thoughts have now turned immediately to another rematch with the score now one victory each between the two diminutive warriors.

His first taste of defeat in the early hours of Sunday morning will do nothing to deter the Green and White Army who had invaded Las Vegas ahead of the fight,

Barry McGuigan cut a tense figure throughout the fight, living out every punch thrown by his protegé Frampton.

Barry McGuigan cuts a tense figure as he watches Frampton lose his rematch with Leo Santa Cruz

Barry McGuigan cuts a tense figure as he watches Frampton lose his rematch with Leo Santa Cruz

Northern Ireland royalty could be seen ringside as celebrities such as Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, Colin Murray of Match of the Day fame and perennial Frampton fanatic James Nesbitt took in the action.

Nesbitt had been subject to a light-hearted social media campaign before the bout, as people jokingly speculated about the Cold Feet star’s whereabouts, following his hilarious ‘tipsy’ interview in the aftermath of Frampton’s win over Scott Quigg for the WBA super-bantamweight title.

One wag tweeted: “Just heard Jimmy order a pastie bap with salt and red sauce from a burger joint on the strip.”

The congratulations for Frampton were a more sincere affair.

DUP leader Arlene Foster looked ahead to a possible rematch in Belfast to complete the trilogy of bouts between Frampton and Santa Cruz.

She tweeted: “You are a champion in our eyes and boxing legend. All still behind you. Hope to see you in the ring at home soon.”

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt also gave his congratulations to Frampton, tweeting: “Carl Frampton does NI proud in the boxing capital of the world, but loses by close margin.”