Veteran trainer Gerry Storey has handled many top-class fighters during his lengthy boxing career. The experienced coach believes that Carl Frampton (left) can become his first professional European champion and join club mate Paddy Barnes who holds the same honour at amateur level. Storey even mentioned the name of Belfast great Johnny Caldwell (who won a world title at bantamweight in 1961) when gauging Carl’s progress as he aims to topple European champion Kiko Martinez.
“One of our great fighters was Johnny Caldwell and when I saw Johnny at around the same age, the class he had with him then stayed with him throughout his career,” mused Storey.
“Johnny Caldwell never really improved beyond that, but Frampton has shown continued improvement. He’s boxed all the big nations at all the top competitions as an amateur and mixed with the best. People have said that Carl is taking chances as a professional, but he has been too clever and too good for his previous opponents and the same will happen with Kiko Martinez. The fans will get something to be proud of; these are the type of fights that pack the hall. He’ll be ready and he will win.”
Gerry is a vastly experienced hand who has formulated game plans and tactics for his fighters in title contests at the height of the amateur and professional codes for many years. He points to Tommy Waite’s early-career British and Commonwealth title opportunities as proof that Frampton’s Euro chance is not coming a moment too soon.
“Carl is ready for this opportunity and he will fully prepared when fight night comes around. I’ve always admired him ever since I first saw him box at nine years of age [a smiling Frampton says he was aged seven]. Carl learned a lot when fighting Robbie Turley in his last bout, who was one of the most awkward kids that we could have boxed. Frampton can fight, box and punch all in one and will become my first European professional champion. I’m looking forward to him joining his mate Paddy Barnes who is amateur European champion.”
The big show promoters, Matchroom Sports, have announced some exciting additions to the Odyssey undercard on September 10. Cairn Lodge product Marc McCullough will feature, as will east Belfast flyweight Luke Wilton and Omagh light-welterweight Damien Taggart. Former Commonwealth Games gold medalist Eamon O’Kane of Dungiven faces off with Ballymena’s Joe Rea at middleweight.