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Mexican Stand-Off – Frampton wants world title return but has no real preference

By Ciaran O’Malley

Carl Frampton is eyeing up a summertime return to the ring against WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz or the unbeaten WBO champ Oscar Valdez.

Frampton was handed the second loss of his professional career in December last against IBF beltholder Josh Warrington in what was an enthralling, fight of the year candidate between the pair.

Many in the boxing world felt that it could have led to the end of an illustrious career for ‘The Jackal’ but, with time to reflect, he feels he still has what it takes to be crowned World champion for a fourth time.

32 this month, Frampton is not overly pushed on which titleholder he steps into the ring with and, when asked does he have a preference between the pair, Frampton notes “not really, Santa Cruz slightly, maybe because it would be a decider in a trilogy fight”

“I could toss a coin between Leo Santa Cruz and Oscar Valdez. I lost my last fight so I’m not in a position to make too many demands but if you gave me a 50p, I’d say heads Santa Cruz and tails Valdez.”

“It doesn’t matter to me because they’re both two good, tough fights. I also believe they’re both winnable fights, though.”

Valdez returned from a broken jaw earlier this month, stopping Italian Carmin Tommasone while Santa Cruz was in action last night, outpointing late replacement Rafael Rivera.

The Belfast man is fully aware of the position he currently finds himself, coming off the Warrington loss.

Although the three-time world champion is undoubtedly still a huge name in the 126lbs division he will not be entering negotiations demanding.

Frampton reasoned that “with the position I’m in I lost my last fight for a world title I can’t really be too picky, I’ll get what’s given to me”

While there has been preliminary contact, it is still extremely early days for these fights and there is a long way to go before we can really get excited about a huge featherweight showdown.

Frampton is staying very calm and relaxed about the whole situation saying, “there hasn’t been negotiations as such, but there has been initial talks and they have reached out, they are both potential fights”

“I’m still in the same position as I was the last time I spoke about this – I want to be in big fights and I want to fight for world titles. The Santa Cruz and Valdez fights have been talked about and we’ll see.”

Before he can fully focus on such fights, Frampton wants his upcoming court case with Cyclone Promotions concluded.

The two-weight champion explained how “obviously I have this court case coming up in May as well which I want to just put behind me, put it to bed.”

“If I do fight again it will be the summertime.”


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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