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WBC champ Santa Cruz out for Frampton unification bout

By David Kelly

WBC World super-bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz says he is determined to have a unification clash with IBF king Carl Frampton before the end of the year.

Santa Cruz makes the latest defence of his WBC title against fellow Mexican Jesus Ruiz tonight and is expected to comfortably retain his belt.

There is no doubt that Santa Cruz and Frampton, who defends his IBF World super-bantamweight title against Chris Avalos on February 28 at the Odyssey Arena, is the most exciting clash in the 122lb division.

"I want to make it happen this year because Frampton's a great fighter, he comes forward and is really strong," said WBC champion Santa Cruz.

"He's got a good record and right now I think he's the one to beat. Beating him would be great for me and I could then move up divisions and go as far as I want. He's a great opponent and he's the number one I would pick to fight.

"I think it's a fight where the fans will win because they will get a great fight.

"He has a great style and I have a good style always going forward so I think that it would make an interesting and entertaining fight.

"The way to beat him is to stay on top of him, working the body, punish him and have great conditioning so you can be there in every round and break him down. I'm going to work the body and pressure him and pressure him.

"I think the bigger fights are going to come this year in 2015 maybe against Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Guillermo Rigondeaux or Abner Mares. Hopefully this next fight against Ruiz goes well then those big fights are going to come."

As for Ruiz, Santa Cruz insists he will not be taking anything for granted.

"I don't underestimate any fighter and always prepare 100 per cent for each opponent because you never know, they come and they want to get a title. I know that he's a fighter that comes forward, pressuring - throwing a lot of punches too," added Santa Cruz.

"He's fought four times for the World title already and all those times he's gotten a draw. So it shows he comes to fight and win the title. He even got a draw against Andres Gutierrez, who is 31-0 right now."

Santa CRUZ vs RUIZ & Stiverne vs Wilder is live on BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD, Virgin 546, TalkTalk 525) tonight. Visit to subscribe.

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