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Frampton could host Santa Cruz showdown at Windsor Park in 2019, confirms Warren

By David Kelly in the Sunday Life

Windsor Park has emerged as a real contender to host Carl Frampton’s ultimate showdown with Leo Santa Cruz next summer.

Promoter Frank Warren is preparing to stage Frampton’s shot at IBF World featherweight champion Josh Warrington on December 22 in Manchester (tickets on sale this week) and should the Belfast man be victorious then the way would be clear for his rubber match with Mexican Santa Cruz.

The development of pay-per-view on the BT Sport platform is the key to bringing Santa Cruz to Belfast as Windsor Park is relatively small in terms of an outdoor venue, considering that most bouts held at football grounds hold at least 35,000.

Santa Cruz has said that he expects the third fight with Frampton to happen in 2019 and Warren insists that in such a situation he would push hard to strike a deal to make it happen at Windsor, having savoured last month’s event when the Jackal stopped Aussie Luke Jackson.

“We could bring Santa Cruz to Windsor Park, of course we could with the backing of pay-per-view on BT Sport” said Warren.

“I was absolutely delighted with the response of the fans at Windsor. It didn’t even matter that it was raining because they were having such a good time. Going to Windsor is all about confidence and taking a chance and we did that and delivered.

“We want to go back there and a fight with Santa Cruz would be perfect for Windsor Park. But first Carl has to get past Josh and that is not going to be easy because you have two guys at the top of their game.

“And if this fight turns out the way I think it will, as a real barnstormer, then we could easily have a re-match.”

Frampton-Warrington is going to be pay-per-view on BT Sport, while it has emerged that rival promoter Eddie Hearn has decided to stage the heavyweight clash between Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora on the same night — on Sky Box Office — leaving boxing fans divided on what event they pay for.

But Warren believes there is simply no contest between the two fights, given the difference in quality between the fighters involved.

“Carl Frampton and Josh Warrington are winners. Carl has proven himself a world class operator and Josh just proved he’s world class by taking the IBF title from Lee Selby who some journalists said was the best fighter in Britain. There’s no comparison between the fights,” said Warren.

“Dereck Chisora has had more than one heavy defeat — they’re two guys on the fringe of world class but Carl and Josh are in their prime and they’re two real warriors and nice guys with both having a huge fan base.

“It’s a great domestic fight. People talk about Amir Khan and Kell Brook but they’re also two guys who’ve had heavy defeats and Khan was terribly exposed last week in his fight with Vargas.”

Meanwhile, Warren has struck a deal with ESPN and Top Rank to show his UK shows, which can only be good news for local fighters. “It’s a great deal, it’s going to be great exposure for all the young guys coming up,” he added.

Michael Conlan will face Mexican Jose Osorio on October 20 in Las Vegas.

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