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Leo Santa Cruz warns Nonito Donaire about hometown judging for Carl Frampton

Leo Santa Cruz has warned Nonito Donaire to go for the knockout against Carl Frampton or risk being on the end of hometown judging.

The WBA featherweight champion traded wins with Frampton in America, but infamously did not come to Belfast for a rubber match despite previously promising to do so.

The Mexican-American cited his father and trainer, José, as the reason for this – first noting his father’s fear of hometown judging before later revealing worries over visa status and re-entry to California where they are based.

Santa Cruz is now set for a rematch against Abner Mares this Summer while Frampton takes on Filipino four-weight champion Donaire in an unofficial IBF final eliminator and potentially official WBO final eliminator.

The fight takes place at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Saturday April 21st, live on BT Sport, and Santa Cruz believes it is a bad move on the part of Donaire to fight in Frampton’s hometown.

“I don’t think it’s a good thing, it’s not smart,” Santa Cruz told Villainfy Media.

Explaining his reasoning, El Terremoto outlined how “Frampton’s from over there, if it’s a close fight they [the judges] are going to give it to him.”

“When Frampton throws a punch or anything, they [the fans] are going to cheer for him and everything.”

“The judges, I think, that will play [a factor] a little bit.”

Santa Cruz believes a stoppage is Donaire’s only chance of victory and stated “that’s what he has to do, go for the knockout – and he could, he’s a really strong fighter, he throws big hooks, and he could end it, you never know.”

The three-weight world champion also reiterated his desire to face Frampton in a third fight should they both overcome their upcoming opponents.

Santa Cruz described how “of course, we wanted that third fight, I said I’m going to give Frampton the rematch, It just hasn’t happened because we can’t travel but I’ll keep my word, I’m going to give him the rematch.”

Watch Leo Santa Cruz’s interview with Villainfy Media in full below:


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