WBA order Leo Santa Cruz’s next fight

The ship has finally sailed, Carl Frampton will not fight WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz in a rematch rubber match this Summer.

The pair are locked at one apiece after trading Stateside wins but, following unsuccessful negotiations for a deciding bout, the WBA have ordered the Mexican-American to defend his black belt in another rematch with ‘regular’ trinket-holder Abner Mares [30(15)-2(1)-1].

The news will not come as a surprise to Frampton fans who had all but given up hope that Santa Cruz [33(18)-1(0)-1] could be tempted to Belfast, despite initial optimism.

Frampton [23(14)-1(0)], after over two years on the road, is insisting that his next fight must be in his home city, and will box at Windsor Park football stadium in late July or early August.

Due to the dramatic nature of their first two contests and ‘El Terremoto’s’ promise of a Belfast rematch, it had been hoped that the quickfire trilogy could take place. However, Santa Cruz would go back on his word following his rematch win in Las Vegas in January, citing his father and trainer José’s fear that he would be on the wrong end of a hometown decision should he travel to the Titanic City.

With negotiations at a dead end, and as part of their new policy to eliminate the much-derided regular belts, the WBA yesterday ordered a Santa Cruz v Mares bout, a fight that will surely do well in the pair’s home city of Los Angeles.

The two fought in 2015, with Santa Cruz claiming a deserved win, going toe to toe in the early parts before using his boxing as the fight progressed to win a majority decision.

The two, both advised by Al Haymon, were given a thirty day negotiating period by the WBA Championship Committee with the promise of purse bids should an agreement fail to be reached.

Who is next for Frampton is currently unknown, but ‘The Jackal’ has said that all will be revealed within the next two weeks.

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