Carl Frampton was in the middle of his media duties on Wednesday when he received a text from David Healy, the former Leeds United and Northern Ireland striker.
The message wished him luck against Josh Warrington tonight and Frampton has a knack of massing his home province behind him.
Stuart Dallas, the current Leeds winger who grew up in Cookstown, is a self-professed fan, although Warrington – a United season-ticket holder – took Dallas to task last time he crossed paths with him at the club’s Thorp Arch training ground.
“I saw him and said ‘hey you, come here’,” Warrington joked. “‘Who’s your money on and don’t forget you’re wearing a Leeds shirt!’” Dallas promised to be neutral when Belfast takes on Leeds.
The build-up to tonight’s IBF featherweight clash has been calm and good-humoured, the polar opposite of the tetchy relationship which developed between Warrington and Lee Selby before their 12-round battle in May.
On Wednesday, during their last press conference, Warrington admitted to being surprised at Frampton’s respectful comments about him.
“I think they’d like me to get wound up,” Frampton said. “I’m purposely not doing that. I’m being nice and civil because they’d get a wee bit of a kick out of me biting and taking any sort of bait. I’ll smile and carry on.”
Frampton said he did not need a deeper rivalry to stir his competitive edge. “That’s a question which gets asked a lot,” he said. “This is my livelihood, this is security for my family, there’s so much riding on this fight so if I was fighting my best friend I would want to knock him out.
“It’s the exact same with Josh Warrington. I don’t have to hate him. There’s mutual respect.”
Frampton’s trainer, Jamie Moore, told the YEP last week that the key for Frampton this evening was matching Warrington’s workrate and preventing him from dominating the ring in the way he did Selby.
Asked what Warrington’s biggest strength was, Frampton said: “I think his attitude. His workrate is good but he hasn’t got a Leo Santa Cruz workrate. Sometimes he goes on the back foot. He has a strong mental attitude but he’s been in against guys who aren’t as good as me.
“He might not respect my punching power but when he fights punchers, like the Kiko Martinez fight, he doesn’t commit as much as he normally does. I can punch and I’ll get his respect and we’ll see what the game plan is. I’ve trained for him to come out of the blocks straight away. When you’re starting to get nailed hard then that game plan might change.”
Josh Warrington defends his IBF World Featherweight title against Carl Frampton exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office, tonight. Watch for just £19.95, for more info visit www.bt.com/sportboxoffice