After losing his world title, his unbeaten record, his trainer and his love of boxing, Frampton feels reborn and may even fight for five more years – if his wife lets him
A little over three years ago Carl Frampton defeated Kiko Martínez on a bitterly cold night in Belfast to become a world champion for the first time. He walked into the post-fight press conference wearing a Santa suit and a shiny new IBF belt, looking as content with life as a young man could be. That was Frampton back then, his manner upbeat, his delivery fresh, his outlook positive. He was 27 years old, unbeaten and each step he took was forward and into a wonderful unknown.
I’ve spoken with him many times since that night. I’ve watched him train, sat ringside at his fights and spent the day with him when he defeated Scott Quigg in Manchester in 2016 in their world title unification bout. His natural, understated charisma means he is always engaging but it was hard not to sense a creeping despondency as each fight came and went. At times his default manner was more downbeat, his delivery a little stale, his outlook apparently neutral at best.