9 June 2010 – By Steve Wellings
25 years ago this month Barry McGuigan outlasted classy Panamanian champion Eusebio Pedroza to take his WBA featherweight crown in front of 26,000 people.
Even though that fight took place at Loftus Road in London, McGuigan had already wowed the Belfast fans with his all action style and crossover personality.
Now his super-bantamweight star Carl Frampton stakes his claim as the next Kings Hall hero when he makes his debut at the famous venue on June 11 against Ian Bailey.
Speaking at a specially arranged media workout in Gerry Storeys Holy Family gym, the unbeaten Irish Boxing Prospect of the Year revealed how he is relishing his chance to impress the local fight fans.
Ive been looking forward to Friday night for a while now, ever since I heard there was a chance that Paul McCloskey would be boxing in the Kings Hall, said a clearly excited Frampton. Being from Belfast I knew I could get on the bill and after 10 weeks preparation Im feeling as fit as ever.
Carl hits harder than I did as a professional, added McGuigan, who took his 23-year-old protg on the pads recently at Midland ABC.
Hes been working with Ian Napa, Choi Tseveenpurev, Mickey Coveney and Bradley Evans. 30 rounds sparring in 10 days shows just how fit he is.
Frampton represents the new Northern Ireland and he can draw support from all corners of Belfast, continued Barry who has been getting his charge high class sparring in England since he turned pro in 2009.
RTE television was on hand this time to interview the pair, alongside reporters and photographers as Framptons star continues to rise. Both men were in London recently to witness potential future opponent Willie Casey claim Prizefighter honours on what could be viewed as the most exciting instalment of the innovative tournament so far.
We are looking at a few of the fighters who were involved in Prizefighter and hoping to get out again in the autumn and light up the scene, said Barry.
We were cheering Willie on from ringside and it showed how hot the super-bantamweight division is right now in Ireland [Paul Hyland holds the domestic strap] but I believe we have the best of the lot here in Carl.
Veteran trainer Gerry Storey has seen many of Belfasts finest pass through his doors during a long career and is equally as enthusiastic, Of all the kids Ive had in here Carl is one of the best. Were talking world titles with this guy; he fears nobody and has a great attitude.
If we get the Belfast support behind Carl then hes going all the way, concluded Storey.