Buzz in the Bay as Jackal fans prepare for Manchester takeover

Carl 'The Jackal' Frampton is hoping for another win
Carl 'The Jackal' Frampton is hoping for another win

There will be an eerie silence around Tigers Bay this weekend as the small north Belfast community moves en masse to Manchester for their favourite son’s world title fight.

That’s the view of a man who knows Carl Frampton, and T Bay, as well as anyone - Frampton’s mentor and former coach at Midland Amateur Boxing Club Billy McKee.

Midland ABC's Billy McKee.

Midland ABC's Billy McKee.

Billy kept a watchful eye over the IBF world super-bantamweight champion during his formative years and says Saturday night’s unification bout with Scott Quigg is creating an unprecedented stir.

“Everybody is really up for it and they’re all going over,” Billy said.

“The excitement has gripped even the older ones and some of them are already on their way over for the weigh-in.”

Midland has around 50 members on its books and only one of the young boxers is not able to make the trip to the Manchester Arena.

“The whole of the Bay will be there, and there will be a lot there from the Shankill too. One guy told me there are 130 people going from his club - and I know there are others from all over Belfast and further afield,” Billy said.

The legendary amateur coach, who has been encouraging young boxers for more than four decades, said his former protégé is a superb ambassador for Northern Ireland.

“He has done everything right so far and hopefully Saturday night will be the same. He is a great champion who comes down to the club regularly.

“When you get a champion in your club, whether professional or amateur, but especially a professional world champion who belonged to the club, certainly there is a big buzz,” Billy said.

Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan says this fight has all the ingredients to be remembered.

“This is another NigelBenn-Chris Eubank,” he said.

“This is a major, major fight. I genuinely think, around the world, this is the most eagerly anticipated super-bantamweight fight,” McGuigan added.

Billy McKee isn’t too concerned with how the fight is remembered as long as the result is the right one.

“Personally I don’t care how he wins [on Saturday] as long as his hand is raised at the end of the day,”

“Carl has been at the game since he was a baby and he has just kept improving. Even when he turned pro he just kept improving and still is improving as far as I am concerned. I can’t see anybody in the world to beat him. It’s good for boxing in Northern Ireland but especially in Belfast. He is a great asset.”

Recently retired champion jockey Tony McCoy is a massive fan of the Tigers Bay fighter.

Earlier this week he tweeted the message: “Got the opportunity to watch one of @RealCFrampton last sessions. The man is on fire, can’t wait for Saturday. A Frampton win for me.”