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Carl Frampton backs Belfast’s Next Generation

The future of Belfast boxing is bright according to the city’s biggest star.

Carl Frampton [25(14)-1(0)] has brought boxing to the next level in the Titanic City in recent years. A man of the people, the Tiger’s Bay star has turned the Odyssey into a fortress, had a temporary venue built for his maiden world title fight, unified titles, became a two-division champ, and brought thousands of fans to Manchester, New York, and Las Vegas.

The 31-year-old’s natural successor looks to be former training partner and fellow North Belfast man Ryan Burnett who currently holds the WBA bantamweight title and will compete in the upcoming 118lbs version of the World Boxing Super Series.

However, Frampton also believes there is plenty of elite-level talent beyond Burnett and has pin-pointed two fighters in particular.

Sandy Row welter Lewis Crocker [5(5)-0] and Falls Road feather Mick Conlan [7(5)-0] both fight at the Odyssey next Saturday [June 30th] with the latter headlining in a homecoming fight versus recent world title challenger Adeilson Dos Santos.

The massive punching Crocker continues his development and search for rounds on the undercard and Frampton has been impressed by the South Belfast 21-year-old.

‘The Jackal’ described how “it’s obvious Lewis punches very fast and very hard. He’s just an explosive fighter. He’s very young and still learning but there’s great potential there.”

“He’s someone who has his head screwed on. He’s still a kid but he’s already started to show impressive maturity. I don’t think he’s the type to be out partying all the time.”

““He’s settled down already and is taking this sport very seriously. He’s fully focused on boxing. As time goes on, I imagine he’ll open up a bit more and become a bit more outspoken.”

Offering his assistance to a fighter he once labelled the most talented young fighter in Ireland, Frampton said that “if he ever wanted my advice, I would happily speak to him.”

“I’m not the type of person who always thinks I know best but I’d be happy to give advice to Lewis if and when I’m asked.”

In terms of Conlan, it’s a bit different. At 26 and with a wealth of amateur experience behind him, Frampton believes superstardom is almost inevitable.

When the Olympic bronze medallist turned pro a potential fight with Frampton was mooted but a friendship between the pair has developed over the past year and West Belfast’s Conlan has dismissed the possibility of a meeting down the line.

Frampton, who has previously described Conlan as a more technically talented fighter and views him as his natural successor, is enjoying what Top Rank call #TheConlanRevolution.

The fighter, who tops his own Belfast bill at Windsor Park on August 18th, outlined how “Michael Conlan has what it takes to be a worldwide superstar. I can’t wait to see him fight on June 30th and the undercard is phenomenal too.”

“In the States he’s with Top Rank and Bob Arum and that man has promoted Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. We’re talking elite names here. People like Arum and Frank Warren really know what they’re doing. If Mick plays it right, he has the potential to become not just a big name in Ireland but a big name globally.”

“When you watch him you can tell he’s just a class act. He’s a lovely boxer. He’s very highly skilled and there aren’t many fighters who can compete with him on how skilled he is.”

“Mick’s also looking like he is starting to punch a bit harder and that’s something that will continue to develop as he gets older.”

“Perhaps most importantly, he has the right mentality and if he plays it right, the sky is the limit for him.”


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie