Could another world title really be heading back to Britain?
Britain’s own Carl Frampton heads across the Atlantic this weekend to face the WBA featherweight champion, Leo Santa Cruz, as the underdog in what will be a career-defining fight in New York’s Barclays Centre.
Fighting at featherweight might be a step up for Frampton but comes as nothing new to Santa Cruz who will be entering the fight confident of a win over a fighter more used to fighting at super bantamweight. With the world title on the line, Frampton has been trying to secure a fight against the Mexican since 2013 and will be looking to make the most of his time in the ring to become a world champion once again.
Frampton (22-0) may be taking his first step into the featerweight division but is no new comer to title fights after becoming the unified WBA and IBF super bantamweight champion in February. Despite stepping up to fight at featherweight, Frampton will be closer to his natural body weight at the 57 Kg limit. Frampton stands at 5ft 5 in with a reach of 62 inches and carries confidence after his latest victory against the undefeated Scott Quigg earlier this year. Since turning down a mandatory challenge in favour of the Santa Cruz fight, Frampton was stripped of his super bantamweight titles and has risked everything to face Santa Cruz this weekend.
Santa Cruz (32-0-1) is a three-weight world champion and currently holds the WBA (super) featherweight title, he remains undefeated in 33 fights. The firm favourite for the fight will be aware of the dangers posed by Frampton but will be confident he can keep the British fighter at bay throughout the fight. Santa Cruz stands 3 inches taller than Frampton with a huge reach advantage of 7 inches to hold his opponent back over 12 rounds. Santa Cruz has knocked out 18 of his 33 professional opponents but will be well prepared to go the distance when fighting Frampton this weekend.
As one of Britain’s favourite boxer’s, Frampton heads into this featherweight fight after a training camp that has seen him less focused on trying to cut weight and more on the skills he will require to out box Santa Cruz meaning this weekend’s clash will be one to remember. With both fighters at their peak fitness, the fight stands a good chance of going the distance and relying on the judges to decide between the two fighters.
This fight could well last the full 12 rounds with the taller and more experienced Santa Cruz coming out on top in the eyes of the judges to retain the WBA featherweight title.