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Cyclone line up blockbuster Belfast showdown for Carl Frampton with Santa Cruz

By David Kelly

Carl Frampton could be heading for a blockbuster showdown with World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz this summer at either Windsor Park or the Kingspan Stadium.

WBA featherweight king Santa Cruz retained his title with a fifth-round stoppage of former Frampton foe Kiko Martinez in California, just hours after the Jackal had ruthlessly turned back the challenge of Scott Quigg on Saturday night in the Manchester Arena.

Well done to Leo Santa Cruz and commiserations to my friend KikoMartinez. Fancy a summer showdown @leosantacruz2? I'm ready

— Carl Frampton (@RealCFrampton) February 29, 2016

Now Frampton wants a shot at becoming the first Northern Ireland boxer to win World titles at two different weights and a showdown with Santa Cruz would be one of the most exciting clashes in world boxing.

Jake McGuigan, the Head of Boxing at Cyclone Promotions, revealed that he has been in regular talks with the Santa Cruz camp over recent months about the possible showdown and straight after Frampton had beaten Quigg he was on the phone to America to reiterate his desire to make the fight.

Frampton has a tie-up with American promoter Al Haymon, as does Santa Cruz, so securing a deal is a realistic possibility.

Jake said: "I spoke to Al Haymon's man and said 'let's make the fight' and he agreed.

"The Santa Cruz team genuinely want to make the fight. We're on the same American TV channel which also helps. His dad was actually there to watch Carl in El Paso, as was Leo, and they may have gained confidence because Carl had gone down.

"We would love the fight for the summer in Belfast and I think we can make him an offer that can help us bring him here but whether it's the summer or later in the year it's the biggest fight out there for Carl.

"American fighters are coming to the UK and UK and Irish boxing is booming. It would be a natural outdoor venue fight."

Frampton, though, will come under pressure to make mandatory defences of both his belts with Shingo Wake the IBF's number one contender and Cuban legend Guillermo Rigondeaux will be waiting after a routine victory over British champion Jazza Dickens in Liverpool next month.

But the lure of a showdown with Santa Cruz in Belfast or New York would be too strong if his team can thrash out a deal - which could well mean a two-fight agreement with one in Belfast and the return Stateside.

Frampton said: "To fight at Windsor is a dream of mine and before I end my career I want that chance. Santa Cruz is the fight I would love, it would be a great fight but I've always said that I am happy to beat Rigondeaux and I'm the only one in the division who can beat him."

Meanwhile, Frampton's coach Shane McGuigan felt more than vindicated after winning the tactical battle with Quigg's coach Joe Gallagher.

"Carl did just enough every single round to prove he is the much better fighter," said Shane.

"He won the first five with ease. Joe Gallagher is not the coach he's cracked up to be. He came up with tactics that gave away the first five rounds, it's madness and why? Because he thinks a World champion is going to blow up - he's off his nut.

"We kept picking up rounds and Carl could have made the fight a lot easier for himself.

"There's no need for a re-match, the fact they had it as a split decision is laughable. Barry Hearn told me he had Carl five rounds up and Eddie Hearn had Carl three rounds ahead."

Belfast Telegraph

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