5 April 2010 – By Steve Wellings
Barry McGuigan was at Midland ABC recently, taking his super-bantamweight prospect Carl Frampton through a rigorous routine, and the former world champion took time out to explain his plans to Irish-boxing.com.
23-year-old Frampton looked every bit the future star as he pounded the pads and absorbed advice from both McGuigan and veteran tutor Gerry Storey.
I see subtle changes from amateur to professional, enthused McGuigan. I dont want to change him too much because what he did as an amateur worked. He can fight aggressively or off the back foot and when guys exchange with him he can knock them out with counter punches.
I dont want to lose those things but gradually improve his ability to come forward a bit more and inject more pace into his work. That will all come with time and quality sparring thats where you learn the skills. Im thrilled about his improvements and I really want to get him out in Belfast.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances Frampton will be back in action on May 7, after a short rest period in April which has seen Carl recharge the batteries following a hectic start to professional life.
McGuigan believes that quality sparring is vital at this stage of any prospects career and mixing with the elite outside of the ring has help sharpened Carls skills when he gets inside. A good eight rounds of sparring against top-quality opposition is great for him, added Barry.
Carl lives and breathes the sport; hes not arrogant but realises he has ability and knows the level of competition he will be coming up against very soon. Were looking to move him on reasonably quickly.
So when can the Belfast fight fans see their idol in action again on home soil?
The objective is to fight in Belfast, maybe early summer, but of course putting on non-televised shows is hard to work sometimes and the word is out about Carl; when he comes to Belfast I dont want the hall two-thirds full, I want all the seats filled.
The preference is to get Carls most important fights at home but the economy will have to allow that to happen and we must be realistic with the nature of this business.
Id like to aim for a Celtic or Irish title by the end of the year. No question in my mind that he is getting ready for those belts and just watching him sparring the likes of Akaash Bhatia (when conceding a stone in weight) and going flat-out with Jason Booth proves this.
Barry believes that only when Frampton fights for titles, with opponents coming forward looking to beat him, will we then see the best of the Tigers Bay man.
His last six-rounder lasted less than a minute but hes getting six round spars of a high quality so I know he can easily do that distance. Were constantly building him up, tweaking his style and incrementally making the conversion into a rounded professional.
Currently based just minutes from his home, in North Belfasts Holy Family gym in the New Lodge area, Carl still enjoys returning to the Midland amateur club that he has frequented since the age of seven. McGuigan was always keen on keeping Framptons base close to home and Gerry Storey was a natural choice to coach him as a professional.
Carls amateur coach Billy [McKee] and Gerry Storey are long-time friends and Carl wants to primarily be based at home and gain more fans in Belfast, hence the reason to train out of the Holy Family. Gerrys been very mature about the whole situation. He is happy for us to go around and get good sparring; it can only improve Carl in the long run.
This is his station and we take him around the UK and one day well take him to the States to train with the likes of Freddie Roach and do some work over there. Well travel anywhere and be vagrants to get him the right work, until we can afford to bring the sparring to us.
Overall, everythings looking great, McGuigan concluded, were moving along at a lovely pace and well soon be stepping Carl up to the next level.