Belfast set to welcome home boxing champion Frampton

Carl Frampton lands at Dublin Airport after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in New York
Carl Frampton lands at Dublin Airport after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in New York

A major homecoming event is to be staged for world boxing champion Carl Frampton.

Celebrations are to due to take place at Belfast City Hall on Friday after The Jackal became the first fighter from Northern Ireland to win two belts at different weights.

He said: “I am honoured that the city of Belfast is hosting a homecoming event for me.

“I’m a working-class lad from Belfast and I’m delighted that I’ll be able to celebrate my World title win with the people of this great city.”

The north Belfast boxer scored a majority decision from the judges in the Barclays Arena in New York to take the WBA featherweight title from the tough Mexican Leo Santa Cruz last month.

The victory followed Frampton vacating his super-bantamweight title to step up a division and earned the 29-year-old the belt his manager Barry McGuigan won in 1985.

The homecoming has been organised by the City Council and Stormont’s Department of Communities.

It aims to give boxing fans unable to attend the bout against the Mexican at the Barclays Arena an opportunity to show their support.

Excerpts from Frampton’s two championship fights will be shown on large screens as the fighter, his family and friends talk about his achievements and future ambitions.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Brian Kingston, said: “The whole city wants to pay tribute to a fantastic fighter who is a role model not just for his sport but for sport in general and what it can contribute in life skills and opportunity.

“He is hard working, determined, focused and a first-class ambassador for Belfast - he never forgets where he comes from and often pays tribute to it and its people.

“At Friday’s event our people can pay their own well-deserved tribute to him - an extraordinary champion and an even more extraordinary man who has his roots firmly planted at home.”

Communities Minister Paul Givan said: “Through his historic win over Santa Cruz, Carl has once again put Northern Ireland on the sporting map.

“Thousands of boxing fans from here travelled to New York to witness his remarkable win, whilst tens of thousands cheered him on from back home. This is testament to the high esteem and affection that people have for The Jackal.

“I was keen for an event to be staged as soon as possible once Carl came home to mark his success so that all fans could come together to celebrate his success. I trust it will be a great occasion.”

The homecoming will run from 6pm to 7pm on August 12 with entry on a first-come, first-served basis.

Boxing demonstrations by local fighters will take place in the grounds of Belfast City Hall from 4.30pm.