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Carl Frampton: I'm positive I'll face a world title fight this summer

In his Sunday Life column, the Jackal discusses the two opponents in the frame for a big bout

Desert storm: Frampton and Santa Cruz do battle in Las Vegas
Desert storm: Frampton and Santa Cruz do battle in Las Vegas

By Carl Frampton in his Sunday Life column

It's nice to be wanted and after WBO champion Oscar Valdez mentioned my name, Leo Santa Cruz has also said he is keen to face me.

So, having spoken to my team, I feel I’m in a privileged position and I’m more relaxed and positive than ever about a big fight happening this summer. I know there was some talk it could happen in May or June but with my court case coming up that won’t be the case so it is most likely the end of July or August.

With IBF champion Josh Warrington facing Kid Galahad and the WBC champion Gary Russell off the radar again, it means that Santa Cruz and Valdez are the two main guys in the frame.

Santa Cruz retained his WBA featherweight title last weekend with a points win over unknown Rafael Rivera. It was another entertaining fight but it was a little surprising that Rivera was able to stay with him to the end even though Santa Cruz had his highest ever output — throwing 1,273 punches over the 12 rounds.

The champion got paid $1m and Rivera only one 50th of that – $20,000 — which is a total disgrace. Such a discrepancy between purses should simply not be allowed to happen, the governing bodies need to look at that. I know that an unknown guy getting his chance at a world title will not get paid anywhere near as much as the champion but there’s something badly wrong when a world title challenger gets paid $20,000.

Hopefully, Rivera will get another fight and a good pay-day on the back of this fight because he fought so well.

Santa Cruz is now looking for another major fight and with a unification bout highly unlikely, he knows that completing our trilogy offers him the biggest pay-day. It says something that no UK broadcaster picked up his fight last weekend when there are so many outlets now.

If that is to be the fight then I know I will have to travel to the States to face him. I know Santa Cruz has talked about fighting me here but I don’t believe that for a second and with his dad being sick and having trouble getting a visa it all points to another trip to America.

I think my fans would be up for that because I know how much they enjoyed travelling to New York and Las Vegas for the first two Santa Cruz fights.

The fans and the TV chiefs know that me and Santa Cruz is guaranteed to be an exciting fight and it would get great coverage on both sides of the Atlantic.

The same can be said about WBO champion Valdez, so I’ll just wait and see how talks go with both camps and what opportunity comes my way.

I’ve been ticking over in the gym and this week did some work where it all began, in the Midland club in Tigers Bay. I was very impressed with two young guys, Carson Clarke and Charlie Clarke — no relation.

I got in and did a few rounds with Carson, who’s 13 and boxes at 52kg. I liked the way he moved about the ring and he has raw power. In fact, the way he was boxing I thought he was ahead of me when I was at the same age.

I also sparred with young Charlie who is a very good, rangy boxer.

It was good fun working with them and it’s great for the head coach Cooper McClure to have two young guys with real talent that he can develop over the next few years.

It’s easy to get carried away but both lads looked like they had the potential to be senior champions.

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