CARL Frampton lived out his Windsor Park dream in front of 24,000 partisan fight fans on Saturday night as he ruthlessly dismantled Tazmania’s Luke Jackson before delivering a ninth round stoppage to retain his WBO interim title.
The Belfast featherweight admitted to being anxious in the build-up to the fight but showed no signs of nerves as he produced a polished, composed display forcing Jackson’s corner to throw in the towel 1.39 seconds into the ninth round.
Promoter, Frank Warren announced afterwards that Frampton will take on IBF champion, Josh Warrington before the end of the year, handing the Tigers Bay man a chance to land a third world title.
And while Frampton concedes his mouthwatering showdown with Warrington won’t be in Belfast, he was delighted with how his dream became a reality at the home of Northern Ireland football on Saturday night.
“This occasion was bigger than even the Santa Cruz fight,” beamed Frampton. “Windsor Park is something I’ve thought about for a long time.”
Asked whether he felt this might have been his Belfast swansong, Frampton said he hoped to return for another potential stadium fight in 2019.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “The Odyssey now, when you do something like that at Windsor Park, will probably be too small to come back to so it would need to be the right time of the year. It would need to be the summer months.
“But we’ll take one fight at a time. This is the most active I’ve ever been in my career and I’m talking about going back right to the start in 2009 when I turned pro.
“I’m fighting in 12 round fights and I’m more active now than I was then and that’s what I want to be. I’m a professional boxer and I want to fight. I want to keep going,. I want these big fights.
“If I was to come back to Belfast, it would need to be next summer but you never know. I loved it and they’re brilliant boxing fans in Belfast.
“It was unbelievable. This might sound a bit vain but I was watching myself on the big screen walking in and I was smiling at myself,” he laughed. “I looked like I had a nice tan and I felt good,” he said smiling.
It was Frampton’s third high profile fight under the tutelage of Jamie Moore whom he credits for his stylish, patient display against Jackson.
“I felt very composed and disciplined. When you look at the Donaire fight, I’d probably say the same and I think a lot of that is down to Jamie Moore who has drilled it into my head.
“It’s about breaking these guys down round by round and not getting too carried away by the occasion or the atmosphere.
“It’s about having a cool head in a hot kitchen - that’s the advice he gave me just before the first bell went. I broke him down, done the job well. My jab was good and I got rid of him.
“I don’t want to give Luke a disservice but I felt like I was a step above. I did what I had to do and the towel came in. He was a tough wee man, a really hard man. I hit him with a body shot before I dropped him and I don’t know how he stayed up from it.”
It might have been Frampton’s dream fight venue but it certainly wasn’t the box office opponent he would’ve liked as he systematically wore the Aussie down.
The stoppage was Frampton’s first since that of Chris Avalos in 2015 and showed why he will remain favourite against Warrington later this year.
Frampton consistently succeeded with his powerful jab, creating the opening for the vicious right uppercut he landed in the sixth, the point at which Jackson further slowed and, with his left eye almost swollen shut, stopped moving his head.
Frampton sensed the stoppage and landed the powerful left to the body that finally sent Jackson down. The Australian returned to his feet but was barely able to stay there and amid a flurry of punches and efficient work with the jab in the ninth, the towel came in and Frampton’s victory was confirmed to the delight of the sell-out attendance.