After a prolonged absence, Carl Frampton returned to to fighting in front of his adoring Belfast public in December against the game Mexican Horacio Garcia and delivered a performance he modestly labels as just ‘okay’. Now, as he readies himself for a highly-anticipated shootout against ring legend Nonito Donaire at the SSE Arena on April 21, The Jackal reflects on his homecoming and tells us to expect an improved version of himself in part one of his latest Fighter Diary…
FIGHTER DIARY BY CARL FRAMPTON
I THINK I was okay in my last fight against Horacio Garcia back in December in Belfast and it was an okay performance considering the circumstances.
It was a short training camp for me after a complete change of everything – a change of trainer and promoter. I also dispensed with my manager and I’ve got an advisory agreement with MTK – so a lot of things changed.
The main factor though was that it was a short training camp for me, but there were also a lot of things going on in my head. I still got the job done against a decent fighter, a big strong lump, who was just coming forward all night.
I bounced a left hook off his head – I think in the first or second round – and I think I probably should have known then that it was going to be a long night. It was a shot that would have taken a good few people out and he just brushed it off and plodded forward like he did for the rest of the fight.
I got the win and that was the most important thing.
It is true that I picked my opponent and I didn’t just want a routine victory, but he was better than I thought he was from when I sparred him a year previously.
He turned into an absolute tank when he came to fight me!
It was my first fight back in Belfast since early 2015 and the occasion on the night did serve as a reminder of what I have been missing. I love the atmosphere, I absolutely love it, and there is just something special about it.
The whole thing during the build-up, walking around Belfast in the city centre and seeing that people have got a real buzz about it. I kind of feed off that because there are a lot of expectations on me and with that comes the pressure.
I think I perform with a bit of pressure heaped on my shoulders, so it works for me.
I was pleased with my performance in the first four rounds of the fight and the stuff I was doing early on people have seem to have forgotten because I got dragged into a fight.
I did tire a little bit towards the end, but the stuff I was doing in the first four was perhaps better than I have ever done in a ring.
So all in all it was a decent performance, all things considered, but I know I will need to improve on that for Nonito Donaire, definitely.
Me labouring a bit towards the end did seem to give a few others at my weight a bit of confidence and that has happened to me before. The Scott Quigg fight only finally came about because in my fight before I got dropped by Alejandro Gonzalez.
So sometimes these fights are a blessing in disguise because people who maybe aren’t so interested in having a dust-up then see a bit of a lacklustre performance and make their own assessments.
All of a sudden, fights are easier to make.
For me though there is a lot more to give and, as I said to the boys in the gym earlier, I think you are going to see a really big performance, I really do.