Carl Frampton stripped of WBA belt but bigger fights in pipeline
Carl Frampton's proposed superfight against Leo Santa Cruz moved a step closer after the Ulsterman was stripped of the WBA super-bantamweight title that he seized from Scott Quigg.
Frampton had been ordered by the WBA to defend his title against Guillermo Rigondeaux.
But Frampton's promoter, Ulster boxing legend Barry McGuigan, views a bout with Rigondeaux as unattractive due to the Cuban's lack of television appeal and hence financial clout.
WBA chairman Gilberto Jesus Mendoza said: "In light of Frampton's intention to face an opponent other than his mandatory, and for failing to respond to WBA inquiries, Frampton's recognition as champion is removed."
Instead, McGuigan has suggested the Jackal may move up to featherweight to face Mexico's WBA champion Santa Cruz or Wales' IBF kingpin Lee Selby. The 29-year-old from Tigers Bay has also been ordered to fulfil a mandatory defence of his IBF belt against Japan's Shingo Wake, but is likely to bin that title too if he moves up in weight.
The proposed clash with Santa Cruz is likely to take place in the States this summer, with the demands of American television ruling out Frampton's dream of a major bout at Windsor Park.
A fight with Selby would be a lower-risk option but would not carry the financial rewards of a clash with the Mexican. Wake is still an option and would be viewed by the Frampton camp as a stepping stone to bigger, and more lucrative, things.