Steven Ward believes Carl Frampton’s humility outside the ring cemented the Jackal’s status as the people’s champion.
Frampton retired from boxing back in April after winning world titles in two different weight divisions.
He is one of only three Irish boxers to have achieved the feat, but throughout his stellar career the Tigers Bay native was always known for his self-effacing and down-to-earth nature.
Ward – who used to train alongside Frampton as part of Jamie Moore’s stable in Manchester – says he learned a lot off the Jackal during their time in camp.
And he believes Frampton’s modest qualities are what set the former boxer apart from others.
“I learnt loads about boxing, obviously, but also how to carry yourself as a person and how you should treat other people,” Ward told Belfast Live.
“I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but it’s just about being a decent fella and not being an a*******. Frampton has time for everyone.
“He is patient with people, so he taught me how to be a decent person. He hasn’t changed even after everything he’s achieved.”
Ward joked: “Carl has retired now and is a big celebrity. I don’t see him as much now. We used to go for coffees all the time, but he is busier now than he’s ever been.
“Fair play to him, he deserves all of it. He dedicated his life to the sport.”
Ward also praised the “mature” decision of Conrad Cummings to retire from boxing.
The pair also spent countless hours together in camp and lived in the same Manchester apartment when training for fights.
Cummings announced his retirement last month after taking medical advice.
“I think Conrad’s decision was very mature. I respect him more for that,” Ward said.
“I respect him more for making that decision, than I would if he plugged on and kept fighting. He is the same as me, he has a family and he has them to think about.”
Ward is currently in camp ahead of his massive fight with unbeaten Kamshybek Kunkabayev on December 11.
The Belfast man will travel to Kazakhstan to take on the former amateur standout in his own back yard.
He admits training camps without Frampton and Cummings “feel a bit weird”.
Steven Ward returns to the ring on December 11
“At the start it took some adjusting, to be honest,” Ward said.
“The boys were always great craic and I miss the banter. The stupid things.
“Even travelling on the plane or boat, doing camps together was easier because there was that camaraderie.
“Now I am doing it on my own, it is a bit more s***.
“It is more the time outside the gym. Time can drag in when you’re on your own.
“But I am a bit of a loner. I don’t mind my own company. But the weekends can be long when I am staying here. You definitely miss the lads.”