CARL Frampton is striving to follow in the footsteps of former World Champion Barry McGuigan and become an Irish boxing legend.
As he prepares to defend his IBF super-bantamweight title against American Chris Avalos, the Belfast boxer hailed the legacy left by his manager, McGuigan.
"I want to become an Irish boxing legend, but also a legend of Irish sport," Frampton says. "I want people to be talking about my fights for years to come the way they talk about Barry McGuigan's fights.
"It's coming up to 30 years since Barry beat Eusebio Pedrosa to win the world title at Loftus Road and people still talk about it.
"It's about legacy and establishing a healthy lifestyle for me and my family after boxing as well.”
The 28-year-old will step into the ring at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Saturday, unbeaten, following his title-winning fight over Kiko Martinez in September.
He’s positive that he can deliver a repeat performance, with the intensity of his training behind him.
"We've been working to a game-plan we think is going to beat this guy and we've brought in sparring partners to try to replicate Avalos's style as much as possible,” he adds.
"This is the best training camp we've ever had and I've sparred with a lot of good guys.
"I'm an improved fighter and I'm walking a bit taller with that air of confidence you get from being a champion.
"Whatever it takes to win this I'm going to do it - I think Avalos is struggling to make the weight and that may have a big part to play on Saturday night too."
McGuigan, formerly known as the Clones Cyclone, told The Irish Post this week that “it’s been flat out” in the build-up to the fight and that with son Shane, who is Frampton’s coach, the focus is on “making sure that he arrives at the weigh in at the weight, in the best possible condition.”
The Irishman praised the coverage that the fight will receive, and explained: “It’s the first time in seven and a half years that ITV have covered a world title fight, and that’s free to air television. That’s great not just for Carl Frampton, but for boxing.”
He also recalled the memories of 30 years ago when he himself claimed his world title in trying circumstances, and explains that training a younger generation of future boxers is his way of continuing his passion for the sport.
“Looking back at one of my most memorable achievements, I’d say winning the world title, and helping to create a good atmosphere between the warring factions in troubled Northern Ireland back in the 1980s when things were very hostile.
“I brought people together at a very trying time and a very sad time in Northern Ireland history. To be able to continue on in the game that I love and to help, we have the Barry McGuigan Boxing Academy which helps under privileged kids get active, get into boxing and get fit.”