Leo Santa Cruz responds to criticism from Irish fight fans

WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz [34(19)-1(0)-1] has come out and attempted to quell the frustrations of Irish boxing fans.

Fight fans have been disappointed with the actions of the three-weight world champion who, after promising to give Carl Frampton [24(14)-1(0)] a third fight in Belfast, went back on his word and subsequently took fights with Chris Avalos and then a rematch with Abner Mares.

Frampton and Santa Cruz traded wins in America, with ‘The Jackal’ triumphing in New York in July 2016 before ‘El Terremoto’ claimed the WBA title back in Las Vegas in January 2017.

Before their Sin City repeat Santa Cruz, at a press conference in the Titanic City, promised to return for a third fight.

This would not happen, with the Mexican-American citing his father’s fear of a hometown decision for Frampton and, later, his father’s visa status.

The 29-year-old has come in for heavy criticism since it became apparent that a fight with Frampton had been put on the long finger, and this has frustrated Santa Cruz somewhat.

In a recent interview with Villainfy, Santa Cruz brought up the Irish boxer and stated that “Frampton, I’m going to give him the third fight soon. People are saying I’m scared of going over there, that I’m not a man of my word, that I’m not going to give him the third fight.”

He outlined how “the first two fights happened right away, it’s rare that all three happen right away, you have to wait a little bit.”

“Hopefully we get the win against Mares and we’re going to give Frampton the third fight.”

“All the people out there that think I’m not going to give him the third fight, I am going to give him the third fight.”

“All the people from Ireland, I am going to give him the third fight. Hopefully nothing happens, if I’m able to fight I’ll give him the third fight.”

In terms of location, Santa Cruz is keen for a third fight to be in his home city of Los Angeles but again claimed that he himself was willing to travel to Belfast.

The fighter who faces Mares in California on June 9th described how “for me, it’s better here in LA. I am I’m up for here, and I know his people will travel here and it would be as great an atmosphere as the second fight in Las Vegas where a lot of Irish people showed up and it was really great.”

“I’m willing to go over there to Ireland. It’s not just up to me, it’s the promoter, the team. I say ‘I’ll go over there, send me over there’, but the team they don’t want to send me over there for reasons. If it were up to me, I would go over there to Ireland.”

Watch Leo Santa Cruz’s interview with Villainfy 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