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Carl Frampton: New York title defence will be well worth the 'weight'

By Frank Brownlow

Carl Frampton is convinced his step up to featherweight will make him a better fighter.

 Frampton will fight Mexican superstar Leo Santa Cruz for the WBA World featherweight title - his manager Barry McGuigan's old belt - in New York in late summer.

Victory would see the Belfast boxer become the first Northern Ireland fighter to win World titles at two weights following his success in the super-bantamweight division.

"I always said that I wouldn't move up to featherweight unless it was for a massive fight and there's not too many bigger fights out there than this," said the 29-year-old, who beat Scott Quigg in Manchester in late February when the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles were on the line.

"It's a really special opportunity, the kind of fight that dreams are made of - and its an opportunity to win the World belt that my manager Barry McGuigan won in 1985.

"It's 30 years since Barry lost the title in Las Vegas to Steve Cruz and now I'm fighting a Cruz for the same title in the States. It's going to bring back a lot of memories for people.

"Some will be saying that Barry lost to a Cruz in America and maybe I will. But I am going there with a lot of confidence.

"Because I'm moving up from super-bantamweight I know that some will think that this might be to the advantage of Santa Cruz but I really believe it will be in my favour.

"The reason I say that is because when I'm in sparring weighing around 9st 8lb and facing three different sparring partners, I'm just as strong in the 10th through to the 12th round as I am at the start.

"But I would admit that in some fights at super-bantam I have faded a little - it's not that I wasn't super fit because I always am but just that little bit of energy dipped so I think that will change at featherweight.

"Santa Cruz has won titles at bantamweight, super-bantam and now featherweight. As an amateur I boxed at featherweight and came down to campaign at super-bantam as a pro and now I'm going back up so I actually think I'll be stronger.

"I'll need to be able to bully him, I need to win and I will.

"I managed to become the first Irish fighter to unify World belts and now I have the opportunity to be the first man from Northern Ireland to win World titles at two different weights."

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