Carl Frampton had a glittering career and stepped into the ring with plenty of world-level fighters, but the one he claims hit him the hardest might not be a name many would have predicted.
The Northern Irish pro held world championships in two weight classes, including the unified WBA and IBF Super-bantamweight title and the WBA Featherweight title.
He fought the likes of Kiko Martinez, Leo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg and Jamel Herring, though none of those hit him the hardest. In fact, not even two-time Knockout of the Year winner, Nonito Donaire, tops Frampton’s list.
Speaking on Up Front With Simon Jordan, he gave that honour to Josh Warrington in a fight he says was ‘a hard one.’
“I think I was quite a substantial favourite going into that one. I knew it would be a difficult fight. He had a great win against [Lee] Selby previous to that. He was on fire really. He was very fit, physically strong, tough, but there was nothing to suggest that he was a puncher before.”
Frampton then admitted that he underestimated his opponent’s power.
“I think his record was about 30 wins at the time and six knockout wins. I was thinking I’d sparred some big guys, been in with some big punchers, he’ll hit me a lot but he won’t be able to hurt me. And that was the mistake I made going into that fight. I’ve never been hit as hard in my life.”
That unanimous decision was one of Warrington’s biggest wins and arguably marked the peak of his career.
Since then ‘The Leeds Warrior’ has edged a tight split decision over Kid Galahad, and has lost to Mauricio Lara, Luis Alberto Lopez and most recently Leigh Wood, although in between that he did take the IBF title from Kiko Martinez in March 2022. His record now stands at 31-3-1 with 8 stoppage wins.