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Carl Frampton is quick to answer Leo Santa Cruz's challenge

By David Kelly

Published 01/03/2016

On the mend: Scott Quigg after surgery on his broken jaw
On the mend: Scott Quigg after surgery on his broken jaw

Carl Frampton didn't take long answering the challenge of Leo Santa Cruz with the two men now seemingly on the path to one of World boxing's great match-ups.

Following his victory over Scott Quigg at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night, Frampton and manager Barry McGuigan made clear their desire to face the WBA featherweight champion, assuming that he would come through against Kiko Martinez in California.

The Mexican kept up his part of the bargain just hours after Frampton's win - both fights being screened on top American cable network Showtime.

The Belfast man was clearly on the mind of the World featherweight champion as following his stoppage win over Spanish bull Martinez, Santa Cruz said: "I'm up for anyone. I want the rematch with Abner Mares... since Frampton won, if he's ready to go up in weight, I'm ready for him. I challenge him to a fight whenever he's ready. He's a tough fighter. He's one of the best."

The Jackal was certainly not going to back away from such a challenge and sent out a tweet to Santa Cruz, stating: "Well done to Leo Santa Cruz and commiserations to my friend Kiko Martinez. Fancy a summer showdown @leosantacruz? I'm ready."

The two camps have been in tentative talks about a showdown that would be a huge attraction to both Showtime and Sky Box Office, with Cyclone Promotions eager to bring the fight to the Kingspan Stadium or Windsor Park.

Crucially, both fighters are linked to American promoter Al Haymon and that should smooth the way to making the fight happen, assuming that Frampton does not opt to make a mandatory defence of either his IBF or WBA super-bantamweight titles.

The Belfast man admitted that for the clash with Quigg he had made the weight very comfortably but there is no doubt the opportunity of becoming Northern Ireland's first two-weight World champion and the magnitude of a showdown with Santa Cruz is a mouth watering prospect.

The WBA's number one challenger is Guillermo Rigondeaux who boxes in Liverpool later this month against British champion Jazza Dickens, while Japan's Shingo Wake is the IBF mandatory challenger.

Neither fight would generate the revenue of a showdown with Santa Cruz, whether at an open air venue in Belfast or at Madison Square Garden. Indeed, it is such an exciting clash that a two-fight deal would not be out of the question.

Meanwhile, Quigg is recovering from surgery to fix the broken jaw he sustained after a wicked right uppercut from Frampton and the Bury man is hoping promoter Eddie Hearn can secure him a re-match.

"It's the fight I want," he said. "I 100 per cent believe I can beat him. If we did it again it would carry on from where the last few rounds finished off."

Promoter Hearn believes that even if the Frampton re-match is not possible there are still many options for Quigg, who was clearly outpointed by Frampton.

"We've been in talks with Top Rank for a long time over a fight with WBO champion Nonito Donaire. There's a fight he can go straight back into. I think he has four options and they all involve World title fights," said Hearn.

Belfast Telegraph

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