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Carl Frampton earns first stoppage in over three years as he fulfils Windsor Park dream

Carl Frampton is set to face Josh Warrington for the IBF world title after stopping the previously undefeated Luke Jackson in Belfast.

Image: William Cherry/INPHO

CARL FRAMPTON’S DREAM Windsor Park fight culminated in a fitting conclusion as the Belfast sporting icon earned a ninth-round stoppage of rugged Australian Luke Jackson – Frampton’s first win inside the distance since February 2015.

The former two-weight world champion ground down his previously undefeated opponent, eventually dropping Jackson to the body in the eighth round before the visitor’s corner intervened a round later.

As the 25,000-strong crowd filtered out of the stadium, promoter Frank Warren guaranteed that Frampton will square off with IBF World featherweight champion Josh Warrington before the year is out.

Frampton bossed a tentative opener during which he marched the Aussie around the ring but neither man threw much with anger.

‘The Jackal’ clipped Jackson with a short left hook to the head halfway through the second and followed it up with a tidy attack to the visitor’s rib cage. Jackson sneaked a straight right hand through Frampton’s guard at the bell to end the second, but it was another fairly tame round in Frampton’s column.

Both fighters began to unload a minute into the third: Jackson targeted Frampton’s body to some effect but the former world champion, still feeling out his foe, unbalanced him slightly with a right hook to the top of the head and a strong left launched from centre-ring. A neat uppercut rubber-stamped Frampton’s dominance through three.

He controlled the fourth as well, planting his feet and attempting to blow a hole in Jackon’s defence. The 2012 Australian Olympian found some of his own success, too, however, landing a couple of tasty right hands over the top which at least curtailed Frampton’s advances somewhat.

Carl Frampton with Luke Jackson Source: William Cherry/INPHO

The hometown hero attempted to counter more to begin round 5 before stepping on the gas towards its finish, bloodying Jackson’s nose and finishing with a nice four-punch combination to body and head before firing a couple more for good measure.

Jackson landed the first scoring punch of 6 before Frampton sent him sprawling backwards towards the ropes with a right hand over the top. A right-hook, right-uppercut combination drew the appreciation of Frampton’s 25,000 backers, but ‘Action’ planted his own right hand flush on the unflinching ‘Jackal”s whiskers a minute before the halfway mark.

Both fighters predominantly targeted the body in the seventh and Jackson might have found momentary parity only for Frampton to move back upstairs with a grazing right uppercut.

Carl Frampton with Luke Jackson Source: William Cherry/INPHO

In what was becoming an abrasive if one-sided clash, Jackson crashed home a straight right in the eighth as Frampton’s work was again slightly forced.

Within an instant, however, the former champion reminded viewers of his class: a throwaway jab upstairs fractionally raised Jackson’s elbows and Frampton dropped the Aussie with a whippet of a left hook to the solar plexus.

Jackson beat the count after the bell but he was to be protected from himself a round later: Frampton backed him against the ropes and unleashed a bullet right hook to the body before pursuing the discombulated Aussie across the ring, clipping him with a couple of follow-ups and readying himself for a brutal finish.

In flew the towel, and, after a brief moment to savour the moment, up went Frampton’s hand in celebration.

Up, too, went the home faithful to whom he remains an all-time sporting idol.

Frampton’s bid to become a three-time world champion versus Leeds’ Warrington will likely take place on neutral soil; Manchester seems most likely, but one suspects such details won’t be ironed out for a few weeks at least.

‘The Jackal’ embarks on a hard-earned holiday with his family on Sunday, but he does so on the back of a dream career night which could pave the way to those of an even bigger and better variety.

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