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Inside boxing: Carl Frampton ready to take on the world

Nick Parkinson
September 3, 2014
Carl Frampton, right, in action against Jeremy Parodi at Belfast's Odyssey Arena. The Northern Irishman will take on Kiko Martinez on Saturday in the same venue © Getty Images

Barry McGuigan, the former world champion and now promoter, explains to Nick Parkinson why neither he nor anyone else will be singing in the ring before Carl Frampton challenges Spain's Kiko Martinez for the IBF world super-bantamweight title in Belfast on Saturday.

I can't tell you what the result of the fight will be, although I'm obviously confident of a Carl Frampton victory, but one thing I can tell you is that I won't be singing in the ring on the night like my father did before I fought for the world featherweight title [at Loftus Road in 1985]. My old man had a really good voice, and I would never embarrass his memory by singing in the ring.

We don't need anthems on the night of the fight, we are past all that and we deliberately don't do it. No flags, no colours - we don't need it. That was one of the stipulations we made with Kiko in the fight contract, because we don't need it. Call the fight out, and get on with it. The politics in Northern Ireland is something we want to avoid. All the people that fight on my bills don't wear colours.

Carl is a uniting figure. I was a uniting figure when I was boxing in the 1980s and my legacy and Carl's future legacy and his appeal is non-sectarian. We will not have any of that nonsense and b******t. We are past all of that and we want to bring sport in Northern Ireland to the future.

I was a Catholic married to a Protestant and similarly Carl is a Protestant married to a Catholic girl and he represents modern Belfast. Everything good about Carl Frampton is modern Belfast.

Carl's smart, bright, intelligent, generous with his time and he can really fight, going backward, forwards, orthodox or southpaw and in different styles

He's smart, he's bright, he's intelligent, he's generous with his time and he can really fight, going backward, forwards, orthodox or southpaw and in different styles. People who don't like boxing like Carl Frampton because of his personality. He has got the full package and I've been talking about this for a number of years now. He will do it and he will be a star for a long time to come.

We want Carl to win the world title on Saturday and then go over to the States and achieve things there as well as bringing events to Belfast. We just want regular fights; winning the world title will give us the traction that we need to go and negotiate with all these other guys and have unification fights.

Everyone is going to be talking about Carl Frampton in the future and he is definitely a crossover star.

Without doubt he can fight at a bigger weight. He's big for the weight and he takes time to boil down because he's a big unit for 122 pounds [super-bantamweight]. Without doubt he can go to 126 [featherweight] and 130 pounds [super-feathweight].

After Carl knocked out Hugo Cazares in his last fight, [the WBC champion] Leo Santa Cruz didn't want to know. He had been dead keen for the fight and then Carl knocked out Cazares and we never got a call back. So we changed course and are very happy to have the fight with Martinez.

There is a real buzz around Belfast at the moment about the fight, it's the talk of the town and country, and it will be an historic night.

The venue, in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, will be in the shadow of the Samson and Goliath shipyard cranes where the Titanic was built. In the distance will be Cave Hill, close by is the new iconic Titanic museum building, and Carl hails from an area that is just a short journey away.

It's thanks to the First Minister, Deputy First Minister and the Executive that we have got this venue. We went here rather than somewhere else because it's the iconic view of Belfast, because we want to show off modern-day Belfast to the world in this fight. And the world will be watching. The fight will be shown in Russia, the Middle East, North America, Central America and South America, China and Japan

The promotion of the fight is one thing but when the bell goes it's more difficult for me. I would rather be a fighter than a manager at times like this and I will be nervous on the night.

Frampton's in the shape of his life and he needs to be because this will be a tough fight.

If it's anything like the first fight it will be very exciting. Martinez has a chip on his shoulder because Carl was the first guy and only guy to have stopped him. Kiko has said some particularly unpleasant things, claiming he is going to destroy Carl in front of his wife and child, so I won't need to pump Carl up on the night that's for sure.

Barry McGuigan, right, has tipped Carl Frampton to be a success stepping up through the weight divisions © Getty Images
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