Carl Frampton says he thrives on the pressure to perform as he defends his Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight title against Kris Hughes at a sold-out York Hall, Bethnal Green tomorrow night (January 28) live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1 from 9pm.
The 24 year-old Belfast boy is aiming to extend his unbeaten record to 12 fights as he tackles the Scotsman – also 24 – who is fighting for the title for the second time having lost to Jamie Arthur in October 2010.
That remains Hughes’ only defeat in 16 pro contests and the Bellshill man has promised Frampton a tough night. ‘The Jackal’ is thrilled that the show is a sell-out and says he is happy to be under pressure to impress in east London.
“It's a big opportunity to impress in front of a sold-out crowd at the start of my break through year and I think that 2013 I'll be one of the best in the World,” said Frampton.
“There is pressure on me but I really don't feel it. People like Barry are raving about me but that's a good thing and I think I perform better when the pressure is on and I'm under the spotlight. My feet are firmly on the ground though so that's not a problem.
“Boxing away from home at the top of the bill is a great chance to learn how to deal with different atmospheres.”
Frampton continues to be linked with a fight with British champion Scott Quigg, the Bury man who defends his title against Jamie Arthur next Saturday live on Sky Sports. Quigg’s trainer Joe Gallagher accused Frampton of trying to make a name on the back of Scott Quigg on Sky Sports Thursday night Ringside show, and the Belfast man followed his mentor McGuigan in refuting that charge.
“I only talk about Scott Quigg because people keep asking about him,” said Frampton. “If I ever fought him I know that I would beat him, doesn't matter whether it would be in Belfast or Bury, or even on his own street. But that's another day and I've got to deal with Kris Hughes first. I do respect Scott a lot though and it would be a great fight.”
Under the guidance of Irish legend Barry McGuigan, Frampton has found himself in the public eye early in his career. McGuigan is convinced he has a star on his hands, having seen Frampton perform heroics as an amateur and Frampton feels he’s in the best hands with the former World Featherweight king.
“A lot of the attention is to do with Barry but it's also up to me to do the business and people haven't seen the best of me,” said Frampton. “I maybe am getting more recognition than I deserve so far which is down to Barry, but it's important to learn how to deal with it. Barry is a massive name in the game, the word legend is overused but he really is a legend and his appeal transcends the sport as he bridged the gap between two communities so he's an incredible inspiration and a great man to learn from.”
Card and weights
12 x 3 mins Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight Championship
CARL FRAMPTON (8st 9lb 8oz) v KRIS HUGHES (8st 9lb 1oz)
10 x 3 mins English Light-Middleweight Championship
ERIC OCHIENG (11st) v NICK QUIGLEY (10st 13lb)
8 x 3 mins Middleweight Contest
JOHN RYDER (11st 8lb) v MARIUSZ BISKUPSKI (11st 3lb)
8 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight Contest
DANIEL CADMAN (12st 4lb) v ROBIN REID (12st 2lb 14oz)
4 x 3 mins Lightweight Contest
RYAN TAYLOR (9st 13lb 4oz) v ROBIN DEACON (10st 2lb 5oz)
4 x 3 mins Cruiserweight Contest
WADI CAMACHO (14st 10lb 6oz) v MOSES MATOVU (14st 10st 12oz)
4 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest @ 12st 10lbs – weigh-in tomorrow
ANDREAS EVANGELOU v ROBERT STUDZINSKI