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Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz: Mexican eyes revenge over Jackal

By David Kelly

Leo Santa Cruz says he is relishing the opportunity of winning back the WBA World featherweight title from Northern Ireland hero Carl Frampton.

Mexican Santa Cruz and Frampton served up a thriller in July in Brooklyn and the rematch is one of the most highly anticipated fights of 2017 with fans expecting another tight encounter.

Frampton is expecting a large contingent of fans to be making the trip to Las Vegas and they will be encouraged by the ticket prices just released.

Tickets for the January 28 clash go on sale next Tuesday (5.00pm UK time) from www.AXS.com and are priced at $504, $404, $304, $204, $104 and $54.

While the Jackal Army are expected to be out in force, Santa Cruz insists they will be heading home disappointed.

“From the moment our last fight ended, when the decision came and I lost the fight, I knew my only goal was to get my belt back,” said Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz said: "When I sat in the locker room afterwards, I felt more motivated than ever to get back in the gym. All I've thought about since the fight was this rematch. There won't be any distractions in this camp. I'll be heading into the fight with a better game plan.

"I'm putting in 100 per cent in training and I'm excited to get in the ring on January 28 to get my belt back."

Santa Cruz - who suffered the first defeat of his career at the hands of the Belfast man - has also said that he believes the decision in New York should have gone his way, something which Frampton totally refutes.

Now the two-weight World champion is aiming to repeat his performance and kick off 2017 with a real bang ahead of possibly two more big battles.

"The rematch is the fight we wanted," said Frampton. "I enjoyed our first fight in New York. The atmosphere was fantastic and the fight lived up to the hype.

"On January 28 I will be better and I will win more convincingly. I know the way Leo fights, he throws a lot of punches and he is brave, but his style suits me.

"It has always been a dream of mine to headline in Las Vegas and I cannot wait to get out there and put on a great performance for the American boxing fans and the travelling support from Ireland and the UK."

Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan has no doubt that the clash will also live up to all expectations second time around.

"I am looking forward to a terrific event in Las Vegas," said McGuigan.

"The first fight between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz was sensational and I truly believe that the rematch will be even better. I'm convinced that Carl will win the rematch more convincingly and beating someone like Leo Santa Cruz a second time will define Carl as a true great of Irish boxing."

Meanwhile, Irish star Katie Taylor says she's back in love with boxing and ready to begin a new chapter in her career as she makes her professional debut against Karina Kopinska at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday night.

After such a glittering amateur career, 2012 Olympic gold medallist Taylor now wants to rule the professional ranks.

Taylor said: "I've been in the amateur game for so long and in the last year or so things have changed and I felt that this was the right time to do it, so I've reassessed my goals. I want to become a professional World champion and I'm excited about starting that quest."

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