Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster, and the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness laid out the Stormont welcome mat this afternoon for WBA featherweight world champion Carl Frampton and his title challenger Leo Santa Cruz ahead of their rematch on January 28th (Frampton and Santa Cruz, not Foster and McGuinness).
The two featherweights visited the castle following their press conference at the Europa Hotel this afternoon and met with the two politicians – who were also present at the Frampton homecoming at Belfast City Hall in August.
DUP leader Foster hailed the Tigers Bay fighter, saying “Carl Frampton is a superb ambassador for Northern Ireland and through his boxing skills, once again puts us in the global eye.”
“It is a privilege to welcome Carl and Leo Santa Cruz to Stormont. I have no doubt that many of us will be keeping a very close eye on the outcome of this very exciting rematch from Northern Ireland.”
“Carl Frampton is a wonderful young man who embodies everything that is good about Northern Ireland. His success is the result of many years of hard work and dedication and we wish him continued success in this rematch against Leo Santa Cruz.”
Sinn Féin’s McGuinness added that “it was fantastic to welcome Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz to Stormont today. Both have proven they are incredible boxers who have enjoyed considerable sporting success in their careers. I am very much looking forward to the rematch in January and although I wished Leo Santa Cruz well today, I will be joining all local fans in getting behind our very own Carl Frampton.”
“The preparation and training Carl has committed to in the run up to the bout early in the New Year again shows the personal sacrifices Carl and his family continue to make to achieve this major success. Carl Frampton is a fine role model and a source of great inspiration, particularly to our young people.”