The scientist, the puncher and the entertainer: Frampton’s Belfast Debut

By Brendan Galbraith – Exciting, Super Bantamweight prospect, Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton put on a boxing clinic on the under card of the McCloskey-Lauri European Title fight, against feisty opponent Ian Bailey, prompting a standing ovation from the Belfast crowd for both boxers. Whilst Paul McCloskey delivered the most spectacular moment of the night with his sensational KO of Giuseppe Lauri – which is surely a contender for KO of the year. Carl Frampton delivered the star performance on the night; high praise given the excellent boxing displays that were on show from Andy Murray and Jamie Conlan.

Belfast boy, Frampton, was making his first professional appearance in front of his home fans, many of whom were sporting ‘Team Frampton’ and ‘Carlos The Jackal’ tee-shirts, and he did not disappoint, showcasing his speed, power and superb technical skills as he notched up a shutout 60-54 points win..

Beforehand, his trainer Gerry Storey and manager Barry McGuigan hyped Frampton as a future world champion and the respected, veteran trainer posited that Frampton will be ‘the new Barry McGuigan’. One ingredient that they were hoping for was good home support for The Jackal’s home debut and that was certainly evident in abundance. Frampton emerged into the hall to the Jerry Lee Lewis classic – ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and a deafening and expectant Kings Hall support.

Frampton has now fought all six of his fights on cards that were televised by Sky television, but disappointingly highlights of his fights have yet to make it past the editors cut.

If Sky viewers had a chance to get a glimpse of Frampton then they would have been able to make their own judgement as to whether Frampton ‘is the new McGuigan’. Of course there are some similarities with The Jackal and The Clones Cyclone in that, both are noted to be hard trainers and have a propensity to land cutting left hooks to the body. McGuigan concedes that his fighter hits harder and told me, post-fight, backstage that although Frampton has “equally as good a left hook to the body - he is not as subtle as I was”. More on the comparisons later, first a breakdown of the fight.

From the first bell of the fight, Frampton started as the aggressor, keen to reap the benefits of a tough training camp were he shared the ring with slick stylist, Ian Napa and aggressive powerhouse, Choi Tseveenpurev. Frampton moved effortlessly around the centre of the ring cleverly working behind his jab, bobbing and weaving and utilising effective footwork in and out of the pocket. These textbook boxing skills helped carve out the breakthrough moment in the first session when Frampton connected with ferocious right hand shot that sent Bailey staggering across the ring. Frampton immediately shuffled across the ring, staying in a wide orthodox stance and pawing left arm – teeing up to unload his money right hand. However, Bailey managed to avoid another brick fist and wisely clinched with Frampton to buy precious recovery time.

In the second, Bailey was undeterred and came out to take the fight to The Jackal, pressuring Frampton and forcing the Belfast man onto the back foot. Bailey increases his output but ultimately landed a low percentage of his shots, whilst the classier work came from Frampton who zipped in and out of the pocket throwing combinations.

The third round started in a similar way, Bailey – keen to take the fight to Frampton, but Frampton again showing excellent movement making Bailey miss repeatedly, aided by intelligent evasive lateral foot movement and feinting on the way in.

In the fourth, another excellent trait became evident – the efficiency of Frampton’s work – very little work was wasted. Frampton showcased more of his versatility by switching to southpaw at the end of the round and later did this in the sixth round too.

Late in the fifth round, Frampton launched another burst of explosiveness by hurting Bailey with a hellish right-handed head shot followed by a hard right and left hook to the body. Bailey again showed his toughness by staying upright and managing to fight on to the bell.

In the final round, Bailey came after Frampton with one last foray. McGuigan said in the presser earlier in the week that Bailey was coming to fight, and there was no question that this was the case. Even after being wobbled in the first, third and fifth rounds and for the most part getting out boxed - Bailey was still walking forward and seeking to land his shots. Frampton, at last showed signs of fatigue with lowered hands, danced around the ring on his back foot to see out the round.

As the final bell sounded the raucous Kings Hall crowd got on their feet to salute both boxers, Frampton for his exciting bursts of explosiveness and well schooled boxing skills and Bailey for his immense heart, grit and determination. This clash of styles ensured that fight fans were well entertained and Belfast got their first glimpse of a future world champion.

McGuigan was very excited when he spoke to members of the press backstage and was thrilled by the work out that his fighter had got with Ian Bailey:

“I thought it was absolutely ideal. It was six hard rounds and I knew that the kid wasn’t going to make it easy for him and that’s what he needs to do. Bailey was strong and had a tight defence.”

As well as lavishing praise on his fighter’s Belfast debut performance, McGuigan was eager to point out minor ‘solvable’ issues with Frampton’s work:

“A few times I was going hoarse shouting ‘hold the middle of the ring’, hold your feet and learn to just keep in the centre – because there is so much class here”

“What you saw here tonight was an excellent example of what he can do. He can punch. He tries to take your head off too much and you can see the way he can bang. And he maybe loads up a little bit too much. So he needs to get a little more subtle and a little more pace and more fitness, but that will is something that you learn and get better at. He is a class act – he has got the full package and I was absolutely thrilled with Carl tonight.”

Interestingly, McGuigan drew parallels with Frampton’s minor faults and McGuigan’s own learning curve during his first professional loss early in his career against Peter Eubank.

“It happened to me against Chris Eubanks brother – Peter Eubank. You know you can’t knock everybody out and as much as you try, you have got to use your head sometimes and see it out – just use your boxing skills. That’s what I was shouting to him in the last round ‘just be classy – use your class’ – and let him walk onto shots.”

“Carl at times has a leaky defence, great head movement, but at times his hands drop a little bit – those are all learning things and things that he can improve on and get better.”

McGuigan was delighted with the reception Frampton got from the appreciative Belfast fight crowd and reiterated that he will promote a show in Belfast in the autumn.

McGuigans final summary on Frampton’s win:

“That just reinforces my opinion. He hurt the kid. He hurt him in the first round – he could have got him out of there in the first. He was hurt in the fifth and last round. Again, these are just the little bits of gloss that you give him to make him finish.”

“What will happen is that we will step up his camp and we will increase the pace.”

Although Frampton didn’t stop Bailey, it was a classy and exciting performance.
On this performance there is one other noticeable quality that differentiates McGuigan and Frampton. The Clones Cyclone was never noted for, or comfortable, fighting on the back foot, whereas Frampton is.

To summarise Frampton is heavier handed and more comfortable on the back foot than McGuigan was. But, he still needs to perfect his execution of McGuigan’s signature shot – the left hook to the body. Another McGuigan trait that Frampton will have to fine tune is the ability to patiently and gradually wear down an opponent over a longer distance. In time and with more rounds there is little reason to bet against Frampton delivering on his exciting promise.

Brendan Galbraith can be contacted at

Article posted on 15.06.2010

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