By Terence Dooley
Among all the fervour over Carl Frampton’s long-awaited fight at Belfast’s Windsor Park and the latest step on Tyson Fury’s comeback road their two opponents have been somewhat left out of the mix.
Frampton defends his interim WBO featherweight title against Australia’s Luke Jackson (16-0, 7 KOs) while Fury meets Francesco Pianeta en route to a proposed showdown with Deontay Wilder in America later this year, and Jackson in particular believes that he is in town to derail Frampton’s future plans.
By his own admission a former tearaway, the Antipodean visitor has warned “The Jackal” that a tough background in which he struggled with addiction to drugs and life in a care home following his parent’s split has prepared him for hardship in and out of the ring.
The 2012 London Olympian turned his life around after his teenage years and has vowed to turn Frampton’s life upside down by handing him his second defeat as a professional.
“Life was very hard for me so to fight Carl Frampton in Belfast, this is easy for me,” he said when speaking to David Kelly of the Belfast Telegraph. “My mum and dad split up and then my mum put me into welfare before my dad got me out.
“When you're in a place like that you feel like nobody wants you so you put up a barrier that you live with for the rest of your life—you block it out. I can't even remember what age I was when I was in care.”
He added: "I forgive my mum for what she did because I'm older and I understand that life is hard, my dad's name, Tony, is tattooed on my ribs. I suffer from OCD, I've got a lot of mental health issues which I still deal with and I keep going. Some days I wonder how I'm still standing here.”
Despite falling into drug misuse, the 33-year-old visitor found his way into boxing. The rest is history. “Everything you are supposed to learn from your parents I learned from boxing,” he admitted. “It got me off drugs, it got me a house, it got me a car, my own business in Tasmania and now I'm fighting Frampton—this is the opportunity I've been waiting for all my life. Boxing has been my parents.”
However, he is a big underdog going into the bout, with some viewing him as a handpicked foil plucked from the chorus line to make Frampton look good ahead of a potentially huge domestic fight against IBF featherweight holder Josh Warrington. Still, well-laid plans have been waylaid many times in boxing and the former wild child will at least give it a go when the first bell sounds on the biggest opportunity of his boxing career.
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