Carl Frampton says next fight “may be a bit of a curveball”

Negotiations continue with Léo Santa Cruz, but Carl Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] is not too confident that a trilogy fight with the Mexican-American will take place in Belfast this Summer.

After over two years of travelling, in which he unified the IBF and WBA super bantamweight belts and won and lost the WBA featherweight title, Frampton wants a homecoming in Windsor Park next.

However, negotiations with WBA champ Santa Cruz have been rather tortuous.

The LA based fighter has seemingly gone back on his pre-fight promise of an immediate Belfast rematch with Frampton – citing the fears of his father who believes that they would be on the wrong end of a hometown decision should they travel across the Atlantic.

Frampton has confirmed that his next fight will be at home and “will be the end of July,” but the opponent remains, frustratingly, unconfirmed.

Surveying his options, ‘The Jackal’ described how a Santa Cruz rematch “is not dead in the water. I’m not overly optimistic but, until that fight is dead, that’s the one I’ll be pushing for.”

“Selby’s a potential opponent and we’ve a few other ones that I’m not allowed to say, it may be a bit of a curveball that people wouldn’t expect.”

Since his rematch loss to Santa Cruz in La Vegas at the start of the year, Frampton has been installed as the #1 ranked fighter with the WBC, and a clash with champion Gary Russell Jr is a possibility, especially considering the American’s difficulties regarding his postponed fight with mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon.

Another option could be Abner Mares, who has previously stated his willingness to come to Belfast.

Regardless of who it is, an official announcement is expected in the next week or so.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie