Frampton believes Odyssey atmosphere “can’t be replicated anywhere else”

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It would be understandable to assume that the first Leo Santa Cruz fight has been the best performance of Carl Frampton’s career thus far – but ‘The Jackal’ feels differently.

Instead, Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] notes how he believes his fifth round knockout of Chris Avalos in February 2015 to defend his IBF super bantamweight title was his top performance.

The reason why? Location.

Frampton fought that night at the Odyssey Arena, and often says that his home fans give him an extra 10%.

It’s been two and a half years since Frampton pummelled the trash-talking American, and he returns to the same venue on Saturday July 29th to take on Andres Gutierrez in a WBC featherweight title eliminator.

Frampton had hoped to fight this Summer at Windsor Park, but the Irish Football Association’s hosting of the UEFA Women’s U19 European Championships prevented this.

Therefore, as the Odyssey is less than half the capacity of Windsor Park, there were thousands of disappointed fans. There is, for the lucky ones who got tickets, the tiniest of silver linings though in the fact that the smaller indoor venue will most likely generate an even louder atmosphere than the football stadium.

Frampton can’t wait to box at home again in the venue that became known as ‘The Jackal’s Den.’

The 30 year old noted how “I believe my best performances are when I box at home.”

“I was hoping this one was going to be at Windsor Park, but it wasn’t to be this time. But the Odyssey is where I believe the best performance of my career has been, against Chris Avalos.”

“I think the atmosphere in there can’t be replicated anywhere else. When you go outside sometimes you lose the noise to the sky, but the atmosphere in the Odyssey is spectacular.”

“The whole buzz around the city on fight week, Belfast is a proper fight city, I think it’s the best fight city in the World.”

“I have been desperately wanting to get home and I am just glad I am here.”

In Gutierrez he faces a largely unknown foe, especially to the more ‘casual’ fan, but the Mexican is highly rated by many in the know. Frampton is expecting a good fight, and indeed admits he needs a good fight, something he believes Gutierrez will bring.

“I wanted to fight at home, but I didn’t want an easy fight,” said the Ulsterman.

“I didn’t want to mug the fans off. I wanted a tough fight.”

“I know I need to be at my best, if I am not I may lose this fight.”

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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