Carl Frampton goes down as Irish great as career comes to an end chasing history

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Carl Frampton believes he achieved more than he could ever have imagined after the curtain was brought down on his glittering career.

It was a sad end to his time in the sport as his bid to become Ireland's first three-weight world champion ended in failure against WBO super-featherweight king Jamel Herring.

Frampton, 34, was stopped in the sixth when trainer Jamie Moore threw the towel in after seeing his man be floored twice.

The Northern Irishman ended his career on his feet yet with a third defeat in 31 bouts in a soulless venue in Dubai.

The fight should never have been there.

His swansong should have been in a packed out arena in his hometown of Belfast but this won't be the night he is remembered for, though.

Frampton retires as a former unified super-bantamweight champion, an ex-WBA featherweight king and up there with the best to ever come from the island of Ireland.

He lit up venues in Belfast, Manchester, New York and Las Vegas over a career that spanned almost 12 years.

“I've done more than I could ever have imagined,” he said.

“If you asked me at the start of my career, I could never have imagined doing what I've done. I'm very proud.”

Frampton's professional career started at the Olympia in Liverpool back in June 2009. Nobody could have imagined the journey that was to come.

Under the guidance of Barry McGuigan and later trained by his son Shane, Frampton would rise to the top of the world in two divisions.

  • Carl Frampton beats Leo Santa Cruz to be crowned WBA featherweight champion

He brought 18,000 fans to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast to watch him become IBF super-bantamweight champion against Kiko Martinez on a freezing September night in 2014.

Then 18 months later he took thousands to Manchester as he unified the titles against Bury's Scott Quigg.

It was a fight that never caught fire but Frampton delivered a brilliant performance after a build-up that helped the two pint-sized punchers become pay-per-view stars for a night.

His crowning glory had to be a sweltering July night in Brooklyn in 2016 when Frampton was the big underdog against Leo Santa Cruz but delivered the performance of his life to win the same title McGuigan once held.

The party the day after showed how thankful Frampton was to his supporters as he put his credit card behind the bar in an Irish pub and hundreds drank on his money.

He would lose the belt in the rematch but the sight of 5,000 Northern Irish fans singing up and down the Las Vegas strip will be forever remembered.

  • Leo Santa Cruz beats Carl Frampton in Las Vegas rematch to regain WBA featherweight crown

As he said himself, this was a fighter who went beyond what anyone would have imagined.

Frampton didn't just create memories on fight night either, he helped give his supporters trips of a lifetime while his story brought people together in a country so often damaged by sectarianism.

An ugly split with McGuigan left both men fighting it out in the courts but, while a reunion will never be on the cards, maybe one day they'll be able to step back and remember just how good they all were together.

Frampton showed glimpses of his best in a fine win over Nonito Donaire after while his IBF featherweight title defeat against Josh Warrington in 2018 was a firecracker of a fight that again brought thousands from Belfast to Manchester.

  • Carl Frampton beats Scott Quigg by split decision to become unified world champion

But, at 34, on Saturday night he looked way past his best as he struggled to get inside the long jab of Herring only to find a left hand waiting from the southpaw every time he did.

The towel came in on the night and then on his career with the focus now on wife Christine and their two children Carla and Rossa.

“I'm looking forward to just dedicating my life to my wife and my kids,” said Frampton.

“It's time to reap the rewards of the dedication we have all made.”

He wanted this final night to be a tribute to amateur coach Billy McKee but he can be safe in the knowledge the Midland ABC stalwart who passed away earlier this year would have been proud of the Belfast man's career.

  • Boxing

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