Frampton hopes Santa Cruz “handles the mickey being taken out of him”

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WBA featherweight champion Carl Frampton [23(14)-0] has warned Leo Santa Cruz to expect some good-natured Belfast humour when the pair come face to face again tomorrow.

A two-city press tour to promote their upcoming rematch on January 28th in Las Vegas kicks off tomorrow at the Europa Hotel in Belfast at 1:00pm, before moving on to Santa Cruz’s home city of Los Angeles on Thursday.

While he does not envision the same sort of hostile reception that greeted Team Quigg when they came to Belfast last year, Frampton is anticipating a bit of panto-style slagging for the Mexican-American.

Writing in his column for the Sunday Life about the famed Jackal Army, Frampton noted how “Santa Cruz will get another taste of their passion at the Europa Hotel.”

“The fans here have their own sense of humour and they’ll give Santa Cruz some banter, but it’s not going to be like the press conference we had with Scot Quigg, Joe Gallagher and Eddie Hearn, they had wound my fans up a lot and got some serious stick.”

“I just hope Santa Cruz handles the mickey being taken out of him.”

Following on from this, Frampton stressed that, despite some comments in the aftermath of their first fight in July, he still holds Santa Cruz [32(18)-1(0)-1] in the highest regard. The 29 year old outlined how “there’s still a huge amount of respect between the two of us, in the same way thee was leading up to out first fight. I know he’s said a few things, like he felt the judges scored for me because of the crowd in New York, but we respect each other as true warriors of the sport.”

The decibel level from the likes of Frampton’s fans is one often-cited difference between cards either side of the Atlantic, and The Jackal described how he will hopefully bring the noise to the MGM Arena next year, explaining how “there’s not the same atmosphere that you get at the big UK fights, but that’s all going to change on January 28th.”

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