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Frampton eyeing autumn Santa Cruz decider after Gutierrez bout

Carl Frampton and his camp are hoping his July fight in Belfast will pave the way to a third bout with Leo Santa Cruz.

Frampton had initially been hoping to attract the man who took his WBA Super World featherweight title back to Northern Ireland this summer but a deal could not be agreed.

Nevertheless, at Wednesday's press conference to unveil Frampton's Belfast SSE Arena match against Andres Gutierrez on July 29, manager Barry McGuigan confirmed the long-term aim is to take the belt back from Santa Cruz.

"Santa Cruz is fighting Mahrez in early September and we've got this guy, who is a serious challenge and that's all we're focused on: get his sharpness back, get a win and get back out again in the autumn for hopefully a big showdown with Santa Cruz," he said.

The July match-up with Gutierrez is the first time Frampton has fought in his home city in over two years, and McGuigan was delighted to bring his man back but warned that any future bout with Santa Cruz may be in mainland Britain.

"It's great to be back in Belfast," he said. "You have been incredible supporters and we want to make you proud of Carl. When he goes, you might not see the like of him again for a long time. Thank-you for coming out today and we'll see out on the 29th.

"You never know, this might be the last time you see him in Belfast because of the size and the money that has to be generated in these fights. The Santa Cruz fight, all being well, could happen in Glasgow, Manchester or London."

Watch Carl Frampton press conference: Andres Gutierrez fight at Belfast's SSE Arena on July 29

Frampton, meanwhile, was understanding as to why the Santa Cruz fight couldn't be agreed as quickly as he had first hoped after losing his belt back in January.

"Initially after he beat me, what he was saying before the fight changed quickly but I understand why he didn't come," said the 30 year-old Tiger's Bay boxer. "He's just won the title. The money he has been getting paid in the States, it needed to be a pay per view show and there wasn't a pay per view date available in the summer. We just couldn't do that. I was disappointed he didn't come but it's 1-1 between us and I'm hoping that that fight will happen at some point. I need to get past Andrew Gutierrez first and that's a really difficult fight. I'm completely focused on one man and that isn't Leo Santa Cruz."

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