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Carl Frampton now among World elite with American public desperate for more: Lou DiBella

By David Kelly

World featherweight champion Carl Frampton has joined the elite pound for pound fighters in the world, according to top American promoter Lou DiBella.

DiBella, who staged the Jackal's historic WBA title victory over Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Centre in New York in the early hours of Sunday morning, says the American sporting public have now been captivated by the 5ft 5' dynamo from Tigers Bay.

Frampton and Santa Cruz served up a classic encounter over 12 furious rounds which had those in the arena and watching on television riveted in admiration and none more so than the American boxing fans, says DiBella who has promoted numerous top bills over the past 30 years.

"Carl is now up there with the best of the best. He's in anybody's top half dozen pound for pound fighters in the world and he's the best UK and Irish fighter right now in my opinion," said DiBella.

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"He could become very big over here now, that's for sure. I've promoted a lot of Irish fighters and I've spent a lot of time in the Irish community in Boston and New York and I haven't seen them this excited about a fighter in years - I can't even remember when.

"Everybody in the Barclays Centre was buzzing for the fight and you know certain fights are so good that you have peoples saying 'did you see Barrera-Morales', they don't need the Christian names and it was the same after this. People were saying 'Did you see Frampton-Santa Cruz'.

"That's the kind of buzz there was and even my friends who are not hard core boxing fans, they're into American football and baseball, they were calling me and saying 'Oh my goodness I saw Frampton and Santa Cruz, what a fight'. I must have had 100 texts, people have been blown away by him.

"Not only is he a great fighter but also a great guy. He was the one who came into the press conference and right away said that the judge who had it 117-111 had not reflected how close the fight was. I was always a fan of Carl Frampton, Barry McGuigan had been telling me about him a long time ago and now after Saturday night I'm an even bigger fan.

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"Andre Ward is probably the best pound for pound fighter in the World and then you have people like Gennady Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez and Carl is right there. He could go on to become the top pound for pound fighter in the world.

"I'm not being critical of Golovkin who has ruled supreme at middleweight but he hasn't moved up or down for a huge fight. Carl moved up and fought arguably the best guy out at featherweight and he beat him. I had it about a point in favour of Carl."

DiBella believes Frampton is set for a series of money-spinning fights and such is the impact he has made that top American company Showtime will want to be involved.

"I'm sure that Showtime would come to Belfast. A stadium fight over there would be huge. The win over Santa Cruz is a life changing fight. It's the kind of fight that makes you a box office attraction and the biggest fight out there is probably the re-match with Santa Cruz and it wouldn't surprise me if they have a trilogy of fights.

"Everything about Carl Frampton is genuine, he's humble and honest outside the ring and he fights with passion in the ring and he truly appreciates his fans.

"It was a privilege to promote his fight with Santa Cruz - the pace was unrelenting and everyone wants to see it again."

Belfast Telegraph

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