Ex-World Champions like look of Carl Frampton following European title success against Kiko Martinez

HIGHLY RATED: Belfast's Carl Frampton stops Kiko Martinez a the Odyssey on Saturday night
HIGHLY RATED: Belfast's Carl Frampton stops Kiko Martinez a the Odyssey on Saturday night

Three former World Champions agree that Carl Frampton is destined for the very top.

The Tigers Bay fighter saw off the challenge of Spain’s Kiko Martinez in the ninth round of their European title fight at the Odyssey on Saturday night.

Frampton looked the business as he out-boxed and out-fought the hard hitting Martinez before a crisp right hand ended the contest.

‘The Jackal’s’ manager and former World Champion Barry McGuigan has said from day one that Frampton has the skills and the tools to get his hands on a World title.

And after 16 fights former World belt holders Dave ‘Boy’ McAuley, Bernard Dunne and Glenn McCrory are in total agreement with McGuigan’s evaluation of the new European Champion.

And McAuley - who held the IBF Flyweight title from 1989 to 1992 - says Frampton is heading in the right direction.

“He has got all the ingredients to get to the very top.

“He can box, he can fight, he can bang, he has great movement and he thinks his way through a fight.

“Not too many fighters have all those things. He also showed against Kiko that he can take a punch.

“He also showed that he has the fitness and the stamina to go into the later rounds.

“We know more about him after the fight against Martinez. The only thing I did not like the look of was that he drops his hands when he moves backwards after coming out of a clench.

“Guys will spot that and take advantage of that, but that is a very small thing and is easily fixed.

“Frampton has the ability and the temperament to go to the very top and I hope he does,” added McAuley.

And Dubliner Dunne - the WBA Super-bantamweight champion in 2009 - is also a huge admirer of the Belfast fighter.

“It was a fantastic performance against Martinez. He answered so many questions in this fight.

“Does he have the power? He proved that with a ninth-round knockout.

Does he have the fitness? No doubt about it. Can he handle serious pressure? Yes. It was a fantastic performance.

“And Carl managed to get low, moved, grabbed and avoid pressure.

“He knew what to do and wasn’t a rabbit in the headlights - and when he held the centre of the ring he was more effective with his shots and made Martinez miss.

“It was a super display from him,” added Dunne.

And McCrory - who held the IBF Cruiserweight belt from 1989 to 1990 - also like what he witnessed at a packed Odyssey.

“Carl showed he has the temperament to get to the top,” said McCrory.

“Some rounds went against him, Martinez started to get on top, and he even got hit on the chin, and if he panicked it might have all come apart.

“But he kept a cool head, waited and picked his shots again and pulled off a great finish, taking a step back and letting the punch go.

“This was a big test for him and he passed it with flying colours.

“He answered a few questions tonight against a tough fighter.

“It was a fantastic performance from him against a fighter who was in great shape and here to win.”