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'Monster' Frampton will roar on biggest stage yet: McGuigan

By David Kelly

Manager Barry McGuigan says Leo Santa Cruz will be facing "a monster" at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.

Carl Frampton has spent the last four weeks in New Rochelle, New York building towards this moment when he bids to become a two-weight World champion, with fans and critics alike eager to see how potent he is at 126lb having won the IBF and WBA 122lb World super-bantamweight titles.

Having kept a close eye on Frampton's tough sparring sessions, McGuigan has no doubt that the Jackal will rise to the occasion.

"Carl loves the big stage, the big situation, the more pressure the better and you just can't buy that," said McGuigan, whose son Shane has guided Frampton to European and World glory.

"We know he's going to be tested like never before in every single department but I know he will win.

"If Frampton catches him clean on the chin he'll knock him out. This has been the best camp ever.

"Before he's had camps when his hands have been sore, his neck… that's the nature of the business but this camp has been great and he's looking like a monster at featherweight.

"Those four pounds do make a difference - he's not had to boil down the way he was.

"The sparring has been great for Carl.

"We had a top Spanish lightweight in who was able to mirror Santa Cruz and the other guy has been in several Santa Cruz camps so he knows Santa Cruz like the back of his hand."

While Frampton's clash with Scott Quigg in February did not live up to all expectations, few believe the same cautious duel will unfold in the early hours of tomorrow morning - including McGuigan.

"People watching this fight are going to see that this kid Frampton is absolutely box office. Santa Cruz comes to fight, he won't be standing off," he said.

"I've always said that this is the stage where he has always belonged and I believed from the start that he would get here."

Apart from seeking to become a two-weight World champion, Frampton will also be aiming to win the WBA featherweight belt that McGuigan lost 30 years ago in the States at the hands of Steve Cruz but the Clones Cyclone is adamant there is no time to dwell on what could be a special moment.

"This is another fight, and the build-up has been to be in the best shape that he can be in, use the right tactics that Shane and him have worked on very hard, and to win the fight," added McGuigan.

"So forget about the sentimentality, forget about it being the WBA title; it's just we've got to go out there and perform and win and win in style and that is what he will do."

Meanwhile, McGuigan will be hoping that Coalisland middleweight Conrad Cummings and Scottish light-welterweight Josh Taylor also deliver eye-catching performances which will move them closer to title opportunities.

Cummings faces Dante Moore of Cleveland, Ohio in an eight rounder, while Taylor meets another American, Evencii Dixon.

In Leeds tonight, unbeaten Belfast man Ryan Burnett defends his WBC international bantamweight title against Mexican Cesar Ramirez who has a record of 12 wins and two defeats.

Belfast Telegraph


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