McGuigan hopes to bring Santa Cruz to Britain for third fight

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He elected against coming to Belfast this Summer, but Carl Frampton [23(14)-1(0) fans may not have to make a transatlantic trip to take in a third installment with Leo Santa Cruz.

The Jackal had hoped the rubber match would take place this Summer at Windsor Park in what would have proved an historic night.

However, the WBA featherweight World champion was unwilling to travel to the Titanic City and Frampton will instead fight Andres Gutierrez at the SSE Odyssey Arena instead – with a Windsor fight being derailed by the Women’s European U19 Championships.

While Barry McGuigan certainly isn’t looking past the Odyssey hosted fight or the challenge the Mexican brings, he did suggest Santa Cruz [33(18)-1(0)-1] will return to the Frampton radar if he is victorious on July 29th.

Belfast certainly wouldn’t be an option for the third installment which is hoped for the Winter as it hasn’t a venue suitable, but McGuigan suggests it could take place in a venue closer to Ireland than America.

The Clones Cyclone wants the fight to take place at one of the major indoor venues in Britain, although with Santa Cruz looking likely to box Abner Mares in September, it may be 2018 before the fight can take place.

“This guy is a serious challenge and he is all we are focused on and then we are back in the Autumn hopefully with a big showdown with Santa Cruz,” said McGuigan.

“He [Frampton] said I want to come back to Belfast and we have honoured that.”

“You never know, this could be the last time you see him in Belfast because of the nature of the size of these [potential] fights. We only have three good months if we are lucky with weather here in Belfast.”

“Most of these fights need to be arenas that can hold 15,000-20,000 people and unfortunately we don’t have that on this island.”

“They do have that in the UK, so the Santa Cruz fight, all going well on the 29th could happen in Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, London.”

Santa Cruz was criticized for ‘going back on his word’ and refusing to come to Belfast, but Frampton understood his decision.

The only fighter to ever defeat ‘The Jackal’ had a list of excuses, but one of Ireland’s greatest ever pugs claims finance was the real reason the Mexican-American won’t be seen in Windsor this Summer.

“After he beat me what he was saying before the fight changed quickly,” noted the 30 year old.

“I understand why he didn’t come. he just won the title and the money he has been on in the States it needed to be a pay-per-view fight and it wasn’t a pay-per-view deal here in the Summer.”

“We just couldn’t do that there was no dates available for a pay per view event. I am disappointed he didn’t come, but look it’s one-one between us and that is a fight I am sure we will have in the future, but I need to get past Gutierrez first. I am focused only on one man for now and that is not Leo Santa Cruz.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: