Belfast’s boxing legend Carl Frampton has revealed retirement was always on the cards after his world title fight with Jamel Herring, win, lose or draw, as family comes first.
According to the Jackal, only those closest to him knew that ahead of Saturday’s clash in Dubai.
Frampton, 34, had been hoping to make history by claiming Herring’s WBO super-featherweight belt and becoming a three-weight world champion, but it just was not to be.
His corner ultimately had to throw in the towel in the sixth round.
The devastated fighter, who has given Northern Ireland fight fans some incredible memories over the years, graciously conceded defeat and announced his retirement.
He had previously said he would do so if he lost, but it now transpires Frampton was always destined to hang up the gloves at this point.
As much as my family, I cannot forget the people, city and nation that I have come from. My sense of belonging, my roots and the community have always uplifted me and given me so much. It is my turn now to repay some of that and to take on the new challenge of helping others as they have helped me in the past.
Frampton has long made no secret of wanting to achieve his goals, provide for his family, and then step away before perhaps more serious injuries would occur.
In his first statement since the heart-wrenching defeat, he posted on social media reflecting on his long career and touching on his many achievements.
“For me though, my biggest career achievement has been my fan base and support,” he said, adding that he takes huge pride in the outpouring of respect since his defeat.
“I can’t express how thankful I am to the army of fans…”
Thanking all those in his team and his family, he reserved the final but most poignant mention for his wife Christine and children Carla and Rossa.
Having reflected on the sacrifices made by them, and particularly by his wife who he says “gave up her aspirations to allow me to fulfil mine”, he noted that he would love to now help her “chase her own dreams”.
“You will always come first,” Frampton concluded.