IBF world super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton admits he can’t get enough of Prestonpans boxer Josh Taylor.
The duo are not only managed by former world champion and Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, Barry McGuigan, but also share an apartment together in the south London area of Battersea.
Add the training sessions the pair go through on a daily basis, and you could say they live in each other’s pockets.
However, for Belfast-born Frampton, who has gone 21 bouts undefeated since turning professional six years ago, watching 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Taylor being put through his paces in the gym has been a sight to behold.
Taylor is in the midst of his final training camp ahead of his hometown debut at Meadowbank tomorrow week, Hungarian lightweight champion Adam Mate providing the opposition for Cyclone Promotions’ ‘Lift Off’ show in what will be the former Lochend fighter’s second fight since switching to the paid ranks in June – a second-round TKO victory over Archie Weah in Texas in July setting him off on the right foot.
Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, Frampton said: “Boxing can do your head in sometimes when you’re constantly surrounded by it so, when you’re finished training, you just want to get out the gym and go and get yourself a coffee or whatever.
“But, if Josh is going to be sparring, I always hang about and watch him because I really like his style and I think the boxing public in Scotland will really take to him. I’d say technically he’s much better than I am. He’s brilliant. His style is very pleasing on the eye, his shot selection is perfect.
“Our styles are quite different but, in other things, we are similar like determination and desire. You need that to get to the top and Josh is a very determined lad.”
Frampton himself was at the Don Haskins Convention Centre in El Paso to see Taylor’s pro debut first hand, a performance he says couldn’t have gone any better for the 24-year-old.
“Josh was so relaxed and focused over there,” he said. “You’ve got to remember he has boxed at the highest level as an amateur so he’s able to control the nerves. He’s a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and an Olympian as well. The guy he fought was a tough fighter so it was a hard fight for Josh in his pro debut.
“Journeymen in America and journeymen in the UK are completely different. A journeyman in the UK comes to survive and he’s thinking about the next payday. If he gets knocked out then he’s not allowed to fight for a month so that’s his month’s wages. But in America they come to win but Josh dealt with him brilliantly. He hit him with an uppercut just before the fight was stopped, a beautiful shot.”
Frampton, 28, continued: “I’ve fought all over the UK as a professional but it took me until my 21st and last fight to box in America. Josh Taylor has gone and done that in his first bout. He can use that experience and hopefully become a better fighter.”
Frampton believes Taylor will excel in front of a strong partisan crowd at Meadowbank next week given his own experiences of fighting in Belfast. However, he is also predicting that big things lie just around the corner.
“Having a crowd behind you adds ten per cent to your game,” he explained. “There are a lot of similarities between the Irish and the Scottish fans where they’re both very vocal so he’ll enjoy it. I love fighting in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast in front of my own fans.
“You see how the Scottish public got behind Ricky Burns, thousands of people come out to watch him and no disrespect to Ricky as he was a good world champion, but Josh can eclipse what he managed to achieve and I have no doubts about that. “Not all good amateurs make good professionals – they’re two completely different sports. You can make judgements and predictions at how good people are going to be but I’ve seen enough of Josh already to know he can go right to the top. I’m not just saying that because he’s my mate, I honestly believe it.”
Frampton admits the mood within their home is at an all-time high since Taylor moved in alongside fellow pros Conrad Cummings, Josh Pritchard and Anto Cacace, ‘The Jackal’ revealing it had taken him some time to adjust when he moved over from Ireland a couple of years ago.
“I was pretty lonely being over here by myself so it’s good having the guys around,” he said. “It’s a good atmosphere in the house as boxing can be a lonely sport at times. Josh and Conrad Cummings have a very good relationship. Josh likes to take the mickey out of us so there’s a good mix of lads. Josh is funny and he can have a good bit of craic and banter. I think when he opens up a wee bit more in front of the cameras and stuff then more people will get behind him.”
• Tickets for LIFT OFF are on sale now and are available at www.cyclonepromotions.com. Cyclone Promotions’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CyclonePromotions) and are priced: Unreserved Tier – £40; Reserved Floor – £60; VIP Ringside - £100.