When he booked a trip to Las Vegas last year for the Carl Frampton fight, Gareth McKeown had no idea he’d be focused on wedding rings as well as boxing rings.
Four days ahead of tonight’s fight, the Carrick Rangers defender and his fiancee Trisha, surprised their friends back home when they announced they had tied the knot in a Las Vegas chapel.
Explaining how the pieces fell into place he said: “I got a bit of inside info on when roughly the fight was going to be and a deal came up.
“We booked it right away as we had been to Vegas before and knew how good it was.
“We are also big Carl Frampton fans.”
Gareth, who has also had successful spells with Glenavon and Crusaders, said it was something they had only planned a few weeks ago, adding the “stress free ceremony worked out perfectly”.
“We rolled everything into one and to be now going to watch the world champion to finish off our honeymoon we are thrilled,” he said.
“Now all we need is the main man Carl Frampton to top it all off and beat Leo Santa Cruz.”
Avid Northern Ireland fan Jeff Magee travelled to Las Vegas with his wife Julie-Anne.
He said: “Having so many people from back home here is very surreal.
“Everywhere you go there are Northern Ireland people.
“The atmosphere has been building for the last few days.
“I think people have underestimated how passionate Carl’s support is and just how many of us are in Vegas.”
Alan Harrison, who made the trip from NI to Las Vegas with his wife Kelly, met the Tiger’s Bay fighter at an open training session.
The Waringstown man said: “It’s starting to hot up over here. There was a good crowd from NI at the public work out on Thursday afternoon and a lot more people about that night.
He said the fans who’d travelled from Northern Ireland would provide an “electric” atmosphere at the weigh in and the fight itself.