Carl “The Jackal” Frampton talks loneliness and mental health ahead of his April 21 showdown at the SSE Arena.
Referring to a 2016 campaign which saw Carl team up with the likes of Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and host of Irish League players to get the message out to young men that it is ok to talk about their feelings, Carl emphasised: “I would encourage anyone going through a difficult time to open up. You know, everyone’s been there.
“I get lonely too. I am in a sport where I am away from my family a lot of the time, and at the minute I am staying with two other boxers who are in the same situation as well.
“We’re always talking to each other about life and just opening up, it’s so good to be able to speak. We counsel each other, without even realising it.
“I have felt down in the past, and I’m sure lots of other people have. Opening up helps give you that wee bit of reassurance, it lets you know that you have people there to help.
“Things don’t seem as bad as you think they are in your own head when you open up. I would advise anyone, when they are feeling down or just whatever, to speak to someone. I think it also helps to stay fit and active, and in good health.”
Carl, who made history by becoming the first boxer from Northern Ireland to hold world titles at two different weights, recently teamed up with sports pyschologist, Dr Mark Elliot.
“It’s something I never really did in the past,” Carl explains. “As an amateur, we would have had one on the team, but we never really had the chance to speak one-on-one, it was always in a team environment with everyone else around, but I think it is very important to have.
“Physically, you can be in the best shape of your life, but mentally if you are weak you are not going to win anything. Of course, being mentally strong isn’t enough if you’re not physically strong, you need to work on both.
“You need to be confident, which a lot of boxers are, but there is a different between confidence and arrogance. I train hard and relentlessly in the gym, and I know if I’ve done enough, it is going to be hard for anyone in the world to beat me.”
The Tigers-Bay born lad also revealed his hopes for his beloved Crusaders to clinch the Irish League title this year. “I think we can do it, it is tight at the top. Coleraine are still hanging in there. We slipped up last year, we just sort of threw it away - I don’t think we’ll do the same this year.”