BOXING: High flying Carl Frampton wins another award

Belfast fighter Carl Frampton

Belfast fighter Carl Frampton

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Carl Frampton has been crowned THE RING Magazine Fighter of the Year for 2016 after winning titles in two different weight divisions.

The Belfast fighter picked up decision victories against Scott Quigg and American Leo Santa Cruz over the course of the year and wrote his name in the history books as the first fighter from Northern Ireland to win a world title at two different weights.

“Obviously it’s a huge honor,” Frampton told the publication.

“Toward the end of the year I picked up fighter of the year on some websites but THE RING Magazine, that’s the one. I’ve very, very proud of that.

“I had an amazing year last year. I unified at 122 and moved up and fought a great fighter at featherweight in Leo Santa Cruz. The year went pretty much to plan. It couldn’t have went better.”

And the publication noted: “So the final tally: Two fights against two elite, previously unbeaten opponents in hostile territory, two victories,.

“No other fighter had that kind of year. That’s why Frampton edged fellow candidates Terence Crawford, Roman Gonzalez, Vasyl Lomachenko and Manny Pacquiao for Fighter of the Year honors.”

The 29-year-old defeated UK rival Quigg in February to unify the WBA and IBF world super-bantamweight titles. ‘The Jackal’ survived a late onslaught to win the bout and then opted to move up in weight to take on Santa Cruz.

Frampton defeated the American in Brooklyn on a majority decision at the end of July to add the WBA featherweight belt to his collection.

He is now set for an rematch with Santa Cruz at the MGM in Las Vegas on January 28.

Meanwhile Michael Conlan will fight American Tim Ibarra in his first professional bout at New York’s Madison Square Garden Theater on 17 March.

2012 Olympic bronze medallist Conlan has signed professional terms with the promoter Top Rank. Colorado native Ibarra, 26, has lost four of his nine pro bouts - including three defeats in his last five fights.