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Year of the Jackal: Carl Frampton believes Vegas Santa Cruz victory will spark a glorious 2017

By David Kelly

Confident Carl Frampton went toe to toe with world title rival Leo Santa Cruz in Belfast yesterday, insisting another barnstorming victory will spark the year of his career in 2017.

WBA World featherweight champion Frampton meets Santa Cruz at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas on January 28 in a re-match of their pulsating clash in New York at the end of July. Belfast fighter Frampton took the title from the Mexican to become a two-weight World champion having earlier in the year defeated bitter rival Scott Quigg in a World super-bantamweight unification clash.

It has been a phenomenally successful year for the Jackal, who expects a huge travelling support to hit Vegas as he bids to once more overcome three-weight champion Santa Cruz.

"This is a great way to start 2017. It's a huge night for me in Vegas and if I can have three really big fights and still be champion then it would top 2016. Though it still probably wouldn't be enough to get on the Sports Personality of the Year list," quipped Frampton, who faced Santa Cruz again at yesterday's press conference in Belfast.

"Everyone who saw our first fight will want to see this one. It's going to be every bit as good if not better.

"I've headlined in New York and now Vegas so the next box to tick off would be a big fight at Windsor Park in the summer and that's the plan.

"The fans deserve that. I had great support in New York but there's going to be a lot more this time. I think I'll take between three and four thousand fans to Vegas and it'll sound like 10,000.

"I'm hoping that this is not the last time that I'm fighting in Vegas. I'm hoping that the fight fans will take to me and want me back out there."

Just like Frampton, Santa Cruz is expecting another thrilling encounter. "I will learn from my mistakes and have a different game plan. I want to get that belt back," said Santa Cruz.

More: Carl and Leo will not cross the line of respect

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