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'I could have gone the other way' - Frampton on growing up in the shadows of the Troubles

The Belfast boxer recalls the decisions he faced as a youngster.

Carl Frampton celebrates beating Alejandro Gonzalez Jr last July.
Carl Frampton celebrates beating Alejandro Gonzalez Jr last July.
Image: Presseye/Jorge Salgado/INPHO

BELFAST-BORN BOXER Carl Frampton has recalled how he “could have gone the other way” after growing up in the shadows of the Troubles.

Having lived in Tiger’s Bay, a Unionist area of Belfast, boxing rather than politics quickly became Frampton’s main concern.

“I was involved in boxing since I was a seven-year-old, travelling to Republican areas and going to the boxing gyms all the time,” he said.

I could have gone the other way, coming from where I came from. Tiger’s Bay would have had a strong loyalist community. I could have gone in the opposite direction. But I just believe that we’re all the same really and that’s it. Most of the stuff that’s gone on, the bigotry and sectarianism, is bullshit really.”

Boxers such as Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Tyson Fury have all expressed deeply controversial opinions in the past, but Frampton’s worldview seems far more progressive compared with some of his fellow pros.

Both Frampton’s wife and manager, the legendary boxer Barry McGuigan, are Catholics, and the Irish fighter explained that as far as he was concerned, a person’s religious beliefs should not define how they are perceived.

“I married a girl who I fell in love with, not just because she was a Catholic and I’m a Protestant. I just fell in love with a girl and married her. I think it’s how I was brought up really. I was brought up in a family who never really cared about divisions.”

On Frampton’s relationship with McGuigan, he added that they don’t really discuss their contrasting backgrounds.

“We’re just our own men really. We do what we think is right. Treat people how you think you’d like to be treated yourself. If everyone had that opinion, the world would probably be a much better place.

But I’m not trying to make out that I’m some sort of Ghandi-type figure or anything and I’m sure Barry isn’t. I suppose we’re just two working-class people who don’t really give a fiddlers about who you are and where you come from. And that’s it really.”

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He added that the 54-year-old manager has been an integral figure in the path that’s led him to become the IBF super bantamweight champion, while also paying tribute to his trainer and Barry’s son, Shane.

“(Shane) has made me a more complete and well-rounded fighter. It’s a very professional set up. He’s really knowledgeable.

“I know his family so well, any time we sit around, all we talk about is boxing.

Barry is obsessed with boxing — it’s all he knows really. So Shane’s been in around that.

“Technically as a coach, he’s one of the best in the country.”

Leading up to his highly anticipated fight with Scott Quigg on 27 February, Frampton also spoke of the sacrifices he has had to make in the build up to this encounter.

“I’ve been away from home quite a bit. I missed both my children’s birthdays. My little boy just started walking, I missed all that. It’s not easy, but these are the sacrifices that I have to make for my career.”

Frampton v Quigg is live on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday 27 February. Buy now at skysports.com/framptonquigg.

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