CARL FRAMPTON won the IBF super-bantamweight title in a dominant performance as he outpointed the reigning champion Kiko Martinez. The spectacular occasion was staged at a purpose built outdoor arena in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, heaving with 16,000 supporters all delighted to crown the home town hero a world champion on a night that will live long in the memory.
Frampton thanked “the best supporters in the world” and hailed Martinez. “I’ve never respected a fighter as much in my life,” Carl said. “He’s a hard a puncher. I haven’t seen my face yet but it feels pretty lumpy.”
It was, but Martinez had been the one to show uncanny resistance after rising from a fifth round knockdown and making to the final bell. Frampton had stopped him when the two met for the first time.
With such fervent support behind him, the future for the new IBF champion is bright. “There’s so many options and the only one I want to fight is Scott Quigg. Eddie Hearn needs to remember that I’m the one with the legitimate belt. I’ll fight him in Manchester, I’ll fight him anywhere,” Frampton declared, flush with victory, on the ring apron.
On the undercard Marco McCullough ground down an increasingly dispirited Dmitry Kirillov and forced him to retire in his corner after eight rounds.
Unexpectedly Virgilijus Stapulionis badly rocked Eamonn O’Kane in the first round, pounding him into the ropes (which was counted as knockdown). A rough and ready rumble broke out, with both flinging themselves clumsily at one another. O’Kane’s head cut the Lithuanian badly over the right eye, the wound halting him before the close of the fourth round and so resulted in only a technical draw.
Cheerful Mexican Jose Estrella pressed Jamie Conlan for the first half of their 10-rounder. But Conlan weathered the storm and steered his way to a unanimous decision.
Robert Talarek caught Conrad Cummings enough to keep him honest, but couldn’t stop the aggressive pressure fighter taking a unanimous win after six rounds.
Willie Casey eventually stopped George Gachechiladze but the former European champion should have managed to contain the unimposing Georgian better.