Calls have been made for Carl Frampton to receive a civic reception in Belfast after his triumphant blockbuster with Scott Quigg in front of 20,000 boxing fans.
Pastor Brian Madden, who comes from Tigers Bay in Belfast - where the new world super-bantamweight champion grew up - but is based at Maghaberry Elim Church, said the atmosphere in the Manchester arena on Saturday night was “electric”.
Speaking from Manchester on Sunday, he said: “The whole experience has been unbelievable. I actually thought I was in Belfast. I would say Scott Quigg had about 1000 fans there and that was it, Everywhere you went there were Northern Irish people. It was incredible. It is brilliant for a wee local lad, especially one who has brought the two communities together.”
Pastor Madden said he believe that Belfast City Council “should do a bus like they did for Barry McGuigan which could bring the two communities together. Frampton speaks to the whole lot. People are still buzzing today.”
On Saturday night, First Minister Arlene Foster was among those quick off the mark to pay tribute to Carl Frampton.
She posted: “Delighted for our wee @RealCFrampton Another reason to be proud of Northern Ireland. #ProudofNI”.
Hot on her heels, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: “Warmest congratulations to @RealCarlFrampton on his tremendous World title victory last night in Manchester. A most admirable young man.”
Northern Ireland stars were out in force at the fight, with NI players Kyle Lafferty and Gareth McAuley carrying Frampton’s belts into the ring and James Nesbitt supporting the Belfast boxer from the third row. On Twitter comedian Patrick Kielty posted: “@RealCFrampton Go on our kid! Not a mark on ya.”