Little-known Asian boxer claims he is to fight Leo Santa Cruz next month

Leo Santa Cruz [33(18)-1(0)-1] may face a surprising opponent in his next fight.

The Mexican-American defeated Belfast’s Carl Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] in a WBA featherweight title rematch in Las Vegas back in January.

Negotiations for a decisive third fight would break down, with Santa Cruz being unwilling to travel to Belfast despite previously pledging to do so.

With that fight off the table, Santa Cruz was mandated to face WBA ‘regular’ titleholder Abner Mares in a rematch as part of the governing body’s commitment to ridding boxing of the largely-derided ‘regular’ belt situation.

Recent reports suggested that this fight was to take place in Los Angeles on September 9th, with Mares beginning a fight camp yesterday.

However, also yesterday, American-based Vietnamese contender Dat Nguyen [20(7)-3(0)] would claim on social media that he will face Santa Cruz on the Mikey Garcia v Adrien Broner undercard on July 29th – a card which also looks set to play host to Katie Taylor’s U.S. debut.

Nguyen, alongside the likes Frampton and Santa Cruz, is advised by influential Premier Boxing Champions backer Al Haymon.

The 34 year old has recently campaigned at super featherweight and scored a big upset win over Miguel Flores in his last fight back in February, scoring a sixth round stoppage.

Against his other two opponents of note, Luis Orlando Del Valle and Jayson Velez, the South East Asian boxer would fall to ten-round points defeats.

Not ranked by any of the major governing bodies, it would seem to be a bizarre choice of opponent for Santa Cruz – however it must be noted that there has been no official confirmation of this bout.

frayne carpentry

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