Carl Frampton: I can handle the high stakes in Vegas showdown
Carl Frampton stood tall amid the high rise hotels on Las Vegas strip last night and insisted he can handle the towering expectations upon him as he prepares for his re-match with Leo Santa Cruz in the gambling capital of the world, early on Sunday.
After outpointing Santa Cruz last summer in their WBA World featherweight title fight at the Barclays Centre, New York on the back of unifying the super-bantamweight belts with victory over Scott Quigg, Frampton captivated the boxing fraternity on both sides of the Atlantic.
Now the World featherweight king kicks off 2017 with an immediate re-match against Santa Cruz here at the massive MGM Grand, Las Vegas at 4am on Sunday morning and while the Mexican was a slight favourite for their first clash, the roles have been reversed second time around. But Frampton insists he is unconcerned about any added pressure that comes with being one of the top 10 pound for pound boxers in the world and the Ring magazine fighter of the year.
"I'm not really thinking about that to be honest. I think it might affect other fighters given all these awards and put pressure on them. And certainly, it puts a little bit more pressure on me, especially going straight into 2017 with such a difficult fight," said 29-year-old Frampton.
"But I have said since I turned professional that I perform best under pressure. And what these awards are doing is simply filling my head full of confidence.
"I want to go out and prove that these awards are justified, that I deserved to be the Fighter of the Year last year.
"I'm prepared for whatever Leo has to throw at me. I understand this is going to be a difficult fight.
"I always feel the second time around, I box better against someone, whether that's a sparring partner or an opponent and I'm confident that it will be the same in this fight."