Not even a torrential downpour could dampen the Tiger’s Bay featherweight’s spirits as he dominated Luke Jackson and scored a ninth round stoppage.
Over the years, as Frampton’s status as a fan-favourite grew, a fight at the home of his beloved Northern Irish football team had become more and more of a possibility and tonight this dream was realised in knockout fashion.
A condition imposed by ‘The Jackal’ when signing with promoter Frank Warren, Frampton finally fought at the stadium after seeing a proposed event last Summer fail to materialise
With all four of the world champions unavailable, it was the unheralded Aussie Jackson plucked from obscurity for the Windsor fight, with Frampton putting his WBO interim belt won in April versus Nonito Donaire on the line.
#5 with the WBO, the Tasmanian had previously never fought anywhere near to world level but came to the fight boasting a strong amateur pedigree and claiming he had had the best camp of his career.
It was not enough, however, with 31-year-old Frampton dominating from the first bell until the towel was eventually thrown in by Jackson’s corner.
Walking to the ring in monsoon conditions which had began during Tyson Fury’s ten-round domination of Franceso Pianeta beforehand, Frampton entered to a haunting rendition of ‘Belfast Child’ which led into crowd-favourite ‘Freed From Desire’.
While the words of the song had previously been changed from ‘mind and senses purified’ to ‘Santa Cruz is terrified’ during Frampton’s two clashes with the WBA champion, Jackson himself looked pretty petrified as the introductions were read out.
The visitor was unsurprisingly cagey as the fight began, sending out long jabs to the body as Frampton continually probed.
Frampton stepped it up in the second, clipping Jackson upstairs with a left hook before sinking in two meaty bodyshots that forced the Aussie to fold ever so slightly. ‘The Jackal’ was setting a high pace, and the bout really started to open up in the final 30, with Jackson being pushed back to the ropes again and again.
33-year-old Jackson threatened to come apart in the third, electing to trade with Frampton and being visually shook by a succession of cuffing shots before being staggered by a clean left. The Frampton dominance would continue with a lovely short uppercut followed by a hook to the body and an inside-the-distance win was looking more inevitable by the second.
The one-way traffic went on in the fourth with Frampton landing at will and countering Jackson whenever the Hobart fighter had the temerity to hit back.
Jackson had a bright start to the fifth but Frampton quickly retook control, punishing the game challenger whose face was starting to show some damage.
The uppercut was working a treat for Frampton but it was a straight right that looked to have hurt Jackson in the sixth but the Aussie responded with an overhand right of his own – his best punch of the fight but one which did not seem to hurt Frampton who responded with a huge hook-uppercut combo.
A closer seventh followed, with Jackson starting well but Frampton, who was staying in the pocket more and more, taking over and landing damaging shots down the stretch.
Turning the screw, Frampton made a breakthrough in the final minute of the eighth with a short left hook upstairs lifting Jackson’s elbows up to allow him to whip in a left hook to the unguarded body and send Jackson down. The hurt visitor rose and managed to hang on for the final 30 but the writing was most definitely on the wall.
Jackson put on something of a last stand at the start of the ninth but a patient Frampton retook control before, eventually, another hook to the body doubled his opponent over. Frampton followed this up with a flurry upstairs that jarred Jackson who dropped his hands and stood off, looking at the referee before his trainer Billy Hussein flung the towel in to end the fight.
The stoppage win, Frampton’s first in three and a half years, sees ‘The Jackal’ improve to 26(15)-1(0) while the game but outgunned Jackson drops to 16(7)-1(1).
The dominant win sees Frampton tick a major box off his bucket list and he will now look to get back among the world title mix, with a shot against promotional stablemate and IBF champion Josh Warrington looking likely to be the next move – with a December date in neutral Manchester being the preferred option of all.