Champion Carl Frampton hints at Santa Cruz rematch in Belfast

Carl Frampton is happy to fight Leo Santa Cruz again in December but not in Los Angeles.

The new WBA Super featherweight world champion admits there was a rematch clause in the contract for the showdown that saw him beat the Mexican in New York last month.

Frampton (23-0-0, 14KOs) expects the return to happen next but made it clear he will be calling the shots in and out of the ring when it happens.

The Jackal has warned the Santa Cruz (32-1-1-18KOs) team’s “sour grapes” will not have any impact, and any return will not be taking place in Los Angeles, where they have suggested.

“It looks like there is going to be a rematch and I am happy about that,” he told Sky Sports.

“It was a good fight last time and I feel like I won it and I do feel I can win a rematch more convincingly — if I box with my head a bit more than my heart.

“But it’s potentially going to be my next fight. I’d like to get out before the end of the year, in December. 

“I just want the Christmas off but there are no injuries, Santa Cruz hasn’t got any, nor have I, so why not?

“The Odyssey Arena is the biggest indoor arena we could do it in in Belfast but it holds 9,000 and this fight probably requires a bit more.

“I would love to bring him to Belfast. I would love to show the people of Belfast a fight with a world-class fighter like Santa Cruz. 

“Hopefully we will bring it to Belfast but it might be New York again, or Las Vegas. 

“One thing for sure is it’s not going to be in Los Angeles, where he wants it, because I am the champion.”

Santa Cruz’s father, Jose, insists his son won and was on the wrong end of a majority decision in what could well be nominated as Fight of the Year for 2016.

Frampton, though, has watched the fight back “a few times” and felt he won by “at least three rounds” and laughed off the losers’ claims.

“We’ve seen what he’s said and Santa Cruz seems to say what his dad tells him to do,” he said.

“My dad said ‘I won this fight’, my dad says ‘I will win the next one’, my dad says ‘I will knock him out’ and so on.

“It was a wee bit of sour grapes but I suppose that happens. 

“He is a big name, he was expected to win and he thought he was going to win but he lost so you have to expect it a wee bit.”

Frampton’s win saw him crowned a two-weight world champion after moving up from super-bantamweight after winning a unification fight with Scott Quigg in February.

Former two-weight world champion Steve Collins believes the Belfast fighter will become Ireland’s greatest ever and the 29-year-old, who is ambassador for MSC Nutrition, says he could eventually become a three-weight world title winner.

“I feel I am very strong at featherweight so I am here for the foreseeable future, but if I move up to super-featherweight — which I want to do at some stage of my career — it’s for legacy reasons,” said Frampton.

“To move up and win a world title, you are talking about a three-weight world title from Ireland. 

“That is almost Hall of Fame stuff.

“Maybe then they could say I was one of Ireland’s greatest ever fighters.”


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