Leo Santa Cruz’s upcoming title defence has been shelved

Carl Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] isn’t the only top featherweight to have a homecoming fight fall through recently.

It has been revealed this afternoon that WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz [33(18)-1(0)-1] will not defend his title in a rematch with Abner Mares [30(15)-2(1)-1] this October.

The Mexican-American duo were due to headline a Showtime card on October 7th at Staples Center in Los Angeles

ESPN writer Dan Rafael revealed how sources had informed him that “the WBA, the organization sanctioning the fight, canceled a purse bid recently when the camps told it a deal was in place — but it never did get completed.”

“There were a variety of issues, including how the fighters would split the money. Also, the source said that the Santa Cruz side preferred for there to be a doubleheader on which both fighters faced other lesser opponents before having the rematch in early 2018, but that did not interest Showtime.”

In their first fight, back in August 2015, Santa Cruz outpointed Mares at the same venue to claim the title via majority decision.

‘El Terremoto’ would defend th belt against Kiko Martinez before losing and reclaiming the strap in successive fights with Belfast’s Frampton.

‘The Jackal’ was due to fight Mexican Andres Gutierrez last month in a Belfast homecoming at the SSE Odyssey Arena, but the card was cancelled the night before due to a freak injury suffered by his opponent.

The succession of cancelled fights now means that Frampton, Santa Cruz, and Mares, along with IBF champ Lee Selby and WBC champ Gary Russell, all have clear calendars for the rest of 2017 – and it is hoped that some big match-ups among the quintet can be made.

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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