Carl Frampton announced his retirement after his hopes of becoming Ireland’s first three-weight world champion were dashed by Jamel Herring in Dubai.
Frampton had patiently waited for a shot at the WBO super-featherweight champion, with the bout initially in the works for 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic forced plans to be put on hold.
A date was finally set for the fight to take place in London on February 27, only for the challenger to suffer a hand injury in the build-up that forced a postponement.
When the two finally got to meet in the ring on Saturday, having switched the venue to the United Arab Emirates, Herring proved too much for Frampton, who tried his best against a much taller fighter but, unable to work his way inside, was picked off repeatedly.
Already dropped in the previous round when walking onto a straight left hand, the Belfast-born 34-year-old was knocked down again in the sixth and while allowed to continue, Herring consistently landed heavy shots to force Frampton’s corner to throw in the towel.
Having said beforehand that a defeat would signal the end of the road, ‘The Jackal’ stayed true to his word. Having dedicated so much of his life to boxing, he made clear the time is right to switch the focus to his young family.
“I’m deeply upset,” Frampton said during his in-ring interview. “I said before if I lost the fight I would retire and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
“I wanted to dedicate the fight to Billy McKee [his former coach and mentor who died in February], and my whole career to my wife and my kids, who have made so many sacrifices.
“I’ve been away for so long and missed them growing up, my own kids, so I want to dedicate my life to my family now.
“Boxing has been good to me – it’s also been bad to me – but the last few years with my team have been the best of my career. I just want to go home now to my beautiful wife and kids – that’s it.”
Frampton did have some success in the fourth round, during which Herring – who had assumed control behind a solid jab, capitalising on his size advantage – suffered a nasty cut on his right eyelid.
However, it was a fleeting moment of joy for the former title holder at super-bantam and featherweight. He ends his pro career with a 28-3 record, including two memorable clashes with Leo Santa Cruz that saw the duo split the score in the rivalry with one win apiece.