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Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz: Jackal set for another epic duel in Las Vegas on January 28

By David Kelly

WBA World featherweight champion Carl Frampton says he wants to wipe away doubts over his first fight with Leo Santa Cruz by making victory even more emphatic in their re-match.

Frampton-Santa Cruz II has the boxing world buzzing with anticipation over another classic that has now been confirmed to take place in Las Vegas on January 28.

Frampton said: "This is one of the biggest fights in world boxing. Our first fight in July was a war and I believe that January 28th will be exactly the same.

"It’s a dream come true for me to be headlining in Las Vegas, where some of the biggest fights of all time have taken place. I’ve learnt a lot from our first fight, Leo is a warrior but I’m going to win even more convincingly the second time around."

Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan said: "This is an unbelievably big fight. We saw a great battle between Carl and Leo in their first fight, these two were destined to square off against each other.

"Their styles complement one another’s so well that the public demand for this rematch meant it had to be made again immediately."

Last July, at the Barclays Centre in New York, Frampton and Santa Cruz delivered a serious contender for fight of the year after 12 blistering rounds at the end of which the Jackal had made history, becoming the first Northern Ireland boxer to win world titles at two different weights, having previously held the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight belts.

The Barclays Centre was keen to stage the re-match, but according to sources in America Las Vegas has won the day, though neither Cyclone Promotions or the Santa Cruz camp  confirmed the details of their second clash.

Frampton now has the opportunity to bolster his growing global profile even further, having made a massive impact in New York with his win over Santa Cruz which led him to be named in the top 10 pound for pound fighters in the world by the respected Ring magazine.

But, dethroned champion Santa Cruz said he deserved the decision. Frampton insists he will deny the Mexican any chance of revenge.

“It’s great that the fight is now done, I don’t think there were many who doubted the result but Leo has said he thought he won so it’s my chance to go there and make it two-nil,” said Frampton.

“It’s going to be another great fight for the fans... hopefully I can get the job done and then we can seriously look at a defence at Windsor Park.

“Leo obviously fancies he can get revenge but, like a lot of my opponents, he only knows how to fight the one way. I have Plan A, Plan B and C if I need it and when I face someone a second time I always perform better. I know what to expect from him... it’s the same when I spar and it’ll be the same in this fight, second time around I am more comfortable with whoever I’m facing.

“Some have said that Santa Cruz could maybe throw more punches but he threw 1,100 so I can’t imagine he can throw more than that.

“I want to be in big fights all the time now and this is going to be another huge fight.”

Former champion Santa Cruz is adamant he can take his revenge having learned from his mistakes in the first encounter at the Barclay Centre.

“I think I waited too much. I waited too long. I got maybe a little bit frustrated… I got confused, I think,” said Santa Cruz.

“I should have put pressure on him and stayed on top of him.”

Frampton will be at ringside tonight in Edinburgh when gym-mate Josh Taylor fights for the Commonwealth light-welterweight title in only his seventh bout.

Taylor meets the more experienced Dave Ryan, but Frampton said: “Josh is probably the best light-welterweight in Britain right now so I’m expecting him to win even though this is only his seventh fight as a professional.”

Meanwhile, IBF World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will not be facing Wladimir Klitschko in December, despite weeks of negotiations between their respective promoters.

Instead, the heavyweight titles will now be splintered as Klitschko will face Lucas Browne for the WBA title and Joe Parker meets Andy Ruiz Jnr for the WBO belt. The winner of the WBO title must then face former champion David Haye.

The WBC champion is American Deontay Wilder.

Belfast Telegraph

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