Carl Frampton might have stepped away from the boxing ring in April 2021, but the two-weight world champion has not lost his competitive edge.
In a new six-part podcast series on BBC Sounds, Carl Frampton – A Different League, the Belfast boxing champ meets some sporting stars to chat about their chosen profession and what it takes to become an elite athlete through a series of head-to-head challenges.
Carl says: “I’m really excited about this series – I dedicated nearly 30 years of my life to boxing to get to the very top of the sport, but I’ve always been interested in the backgrounds of other sports stars and what it took to reach the pinnacle of their game. It’s been a brilliant learning curve for me getting an insight into their lives, and as well as having a laugh, we’ve talked about some difficulties they faced and where they found the strength to overcome them.
“Some of the challenges the sports stars set have taken me completely out of my comfort zone. I never thought I’d be going head to head with a WWE champion or trying to defend against one of the best MMA fighters in the world, but it’s been great.”
In the first episode, available on BBC Sounds on Tuesday, 16 November, Carl chats to WWE superstar Drew McIntyre from his home in Nashville, Tennessee about toning down his strong Scottish accent for a global audience, and why this hasn’t been received well with fans in his home country.
Drew talks openly about his professional highs and lows, including being axed from the company in 2014 when personal difficulties led him to go off the rails, before returning to become Britain’s first-ever WWE champion.
In episode two Carl meets former cricketer Monty Panesar, who was once considered England’s first-choice spinner for a candid conversation about his career.
Monty teaches Carl how to bat against his spinning – can our former boxing hero hit him for six or will he lose his wicket?
Other guests in the series include local sporting stars Leah McCourt, the MMA fighter who talks about balancing competing at the highest level with being a single mum; Leeds United and Northern Ireland international Stuart Dallas; and four-times World Championship snooker player John Higgins.
Carl Frampton has broken many records during his time in the boxing ring, but will it be a case of once a fighter, always a fighter when he leaves his comfort zone to compete in a series of challenges?
Can he defend against an MMA attack from a World Champion or find the mic skills to outwit an opponent and become a bad boy of wrestling?
Carl Frampton – A Different League is a BBC Northern Ireland production, the first episode is available on BBC Sounds from Tuesday 16 November with the following five episodes available weekly thereafter.