Carl Frampton fan's dream of seeing bout scuppered after brutal assault in New York eaterie
Published 01/08/2016 | 09:15
A man from Northern Ireland missed seeing Carl Frampton make history in New York as he spent the night in hospital after being assaulted on the way to the stadium - while his friend watched the bout on his phone by his bedside.
On Saturday night Frampton became the first Northern Ireland boxer to win world titles at two different weights after dethroning WBA world featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Supporters from Northern Ireland flocked to the venue in their droves to cheer on the north Belfast fighter.
But two fans from east Belfast who have working in the US as football coaches since June, spent the night in hospital.
David Ralston (22) and Gregg Megaw (24) were so excited about the fact they would be living in New York when the Frampton fight was on that they set up a travelling support Facebook group ahead of the contest to meet up with fans when they made the trip.
They all met on Saturday before making their way to the Barclays Center.
"The place was bouncing," David said. "We met in Legends Bar and then went to the Beer Hall and it was all organised through that group. It was brilliant, like a Northern Ireland away trip, like France all over again."
But when they stopped in a pizza restaurant, Gregg was knocked out and suffered a broken nose and black eye.
David told the Belfast Telegraph: "We went into a pizza shop and there were two guys standing and we walked over to look at the menu.
"Gregg squeezed past one of them and he was like, 'What are you doing?'"
The pair explained that they were just trying to get some food, but things were about to get worse.
"The guy he brushed past said 'Why is your friend looking at me?'" David explained. "It was the one behind me who punched him. Just one clean punch and his nose was broken and he was out cold.
"The two guys just sprinted out of the place."
The ambulance and police soon arrived and the pair spent the full night in hospital - with David watching the fight on his phone.
"Gregg was out cold and I was sitting watching it on my phone," he said.
"Thankfully, the hospital had free wifi, so it was alright."
The pair had been looking forward to the fight ever since the date was released.
"When we knew we were going to be in New York for it, we set up that Facebook group to have somewhere for everyone to meet together," David said.
"Up until the incident it was unreal, but obviously it took a turn for the worst."
But even being in hospital did not stop them celebrating the historic victory.
David explained: "I was jumping up and down in the hospital with security and doctors telling me to be quiet. I woke Gregg up a bit in the hospital bed. I have a photo of him giving the thumbs-up after Frampton won.
"It's an anti-climax, but at the end of the day we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Things like this happen."