Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] returns home to Belfast to fight in front of his by-now infamous following for the first time since Chris Avalos was emphatically dispatched in February 2015 and has this week hyped up the the influence of his partisan, loyal, and loud following.
Just like American Avalos, this weekend’s opponent Andres Gutierrez [35(25)-1(0)-1] has been quick with the stock ‘the fans can’t fight for him’ and it’s ‘only me and him in the ring’ lines.
The Belfast man has heard it before and, for the most part, there is truth to it. However, Frampton claims it doesn’t apply to his fans nor his Belfast opponents. He has seen up close and personal just how influential the Jackal Army can be when it comes to breaking down the enemy.
“I don’t care what anyone says, all these opponents come over and they say ‘it’s only two men in the ring, the fans can’t help you’ – but they can,” he said at today’s public workout – which itself was attended by hundreds of fans.
“I think they add five percent to my game. Anything he does something that’s good there will just be silence in the crowd, but even if I hit him on the arms you will hear a roar. That will get to him like it has got to so many before.”
“They all say the same before the fight but the atmosphere definitely affects them.”
On the back of two massive fights with Leo Santa Cruz in America, Frampton could have returned to the States to fight this Summer.
Indeed to fight across the Atlantic could have made it easier to secure a second rematch with the Belfast-shy Mexican-American, but the Shane McGuigan-trained puncher wanted to repay the fans who came out to support him abroad.
It’s clear that, for Frampton, there is no place like home.
“There is no pressure fighting in Belfast. I want to come home and fight in Belfast and I am looking forward to it. Manchester, New York, Las Vegas, El Paso even, It’s been a long wait for me to get back. I just wanted to get back. I love Belfast, I love fighting at home, I love the build up here with fight week and the atmosphere. It’s important to me to fight in Belfast.”
Frampton had hoped the homecoming would have afforded him the chance to bring a stadium fight to the City.
He wanted Santa Cruz in Windsor Park, but it never happened. However, the much loved fighter hasn’t given up on the dream.
“I want to fight at Windsor and I am disapointed this fight can’t be there, but I would look back on my career with great regret if a fight never came off in Windsor Park. At some stage before I hang them up I would like to fight at least once at Windsor.”