WBA ‘regular’ title fighters target Frampton-Santa Cruz rematch winner

There is a big fight in the featherweight division next weekend at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar faces Mexican-American Abner Mares in a top-of-the-bill Premier Boxing Champions clash on the US West Coast.

Cuellar [28(21)-1(1)] comes into the bout having linked up with Freddie Roach and enters the bout as a slight favourite, while three-weight champion Mares [29(15)-2(1)-1] is looking to make a final assault on World honours following recent losses and a severe eye injury.

The fight is for the lightly-regarded WBA ‘regular’ strap, currently held by Cuellar, and the link to the belt-happy organisation, as well as the link to Al Hayon’s PBC, means that the winner will be a leading contender to face the winner of the WBA featherweight title fight between champion Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas on January 28th.

Both were asked recently by IFL TV for their thoughts on such a bout.

Mares stressed that “I think that’s number one, the winner of that fight has to fight the winner of this fight. I think I’d edge Frampton again, obviously because he won and you saw what he did do in there, so I go Frampton.”

The steely Cuellar echoed these sentiments, saying that “I want the winner of Frampton-Santa Cruz, but first I want to win this fight.”

If Frampton is to defeat Santa Cruz, a Summer homecoming at Windsor Park in Belfast seems likely. While a unification with IBF champion Lee Selby has been mooted, the winner of Cuellar-Mares remains a strong possibility.

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