02 September 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Belfast super-bantamweight Carl Frampton continues his professional education on Friday night with a four-round contest against Yannis Lakrout in Middlesbrough.
Although the Frenchman, 1-3, is not expected to give the reigning Irish amateur champion too many problems, 22-year-old Frampton believes such contests represent a learning curve in the transition from amateur standout to professional contender.
“Journeymen will be rough and physical with you,” he told irish-boxing.com.
“Because of that Gerry Storey has had me working on that aspect of the sport in the gym. A bit of wrestling.”
Having learned his trade at Midland White City, Frampton is now under the tutelage of much celebrated Holy Family boss Storey, who also guides Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes. Frampton also has Irish ring legend Barry McGuigan pulling strings for him behind the scenes, meaning that major opportunities may lie just around the corner.
“The first time Barry McGuigan watched me was when I won silver at the EUs in Dublin. He must have kept an eye on me since then and saw me winning the Irish seniors earlier this year.”
Under Storey and McGuigan, puncher Frampton turned professional in June of this year with a second-round KO of Hungarys Sandor Szinavel in Liverpool. Frampton has recently returned to the North East of England for sparring sessions with Commonwealth featherweight champion Paul Simpson.
“The amateurs was all about single scoring punches and getting in and out. Sparring with Simpson taught me that you will be outworked if you arent busier. In the pro game you have to throw more punches, plant your feet more and be more physical. So it has taught me a lot.
At 22, time is very much on Framptons side. However, he is keen to move quickly and sees a challenge for the British crown in his first 15 fights.
“Martin Lindsay won the British title in his 14th fight, and looking around super-bantamweight at the moment I dont see why I can’t try to do in the same number of fights. I would love to win the British title outright. Turning professional is all Ive ever wanted since I was a kid and I think I have a style to be successful and to sell tickets.
Frampton may well get the chance to test this theory in October when, if as expected, he is given a supporting slot on the undercard of Paul McCloskeys European light-welterweight title challenge against Soulemane Mbaye.
The prospect of sparring Bernard Dunne is something else that appeals to Frampton. With the WBA super-bantamweight champion training for a September 26 defence against the formidable Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, just miles away in the Holy Trinity camp, Frampton admits he would be delighted to help out in the Dubliners preparations.
“It hasnt been mentioned but obviously Id love to. Bernard is a World Champion so to work with him would be brilliant.”
Someone who Frampton does regularly spar with is friend and former amateur rival Barnes. With the Olympic bronze medallist currently competing in the World Championships in Milan, Frampton is confident he will be returning to Belfast with more medals.
“I think he can win it,” he enthused.
“He has got a decent draw and some of the other big names arent there so there is no reason why he cant do it. He is certainly good enough. I spar him and he is so fast. The fastest person I have ever sparred with. Im a bit heavier so it is great for my speed work.”
Gerry Storey has a knack of making champions and the omens are good that Carl Frampton is the latest in this conveyor belt of success.