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Published: 10:29 | 31/7/16

Frampton dethrones Santa Cruz

Northern Irishman upsets odds in Brooklyn

Carl Frampton has become a two-weight world champion after producing a stunning display to beat Leo Santa Cruz on points in Brooklyn

The Northern Irishman prised the WBA World Featherweight belt from his previously unbeaten opponent in a superb encounter which could be a contender for Fight of the Year.

Two of the judges scored the contest a convincing victory for the 29-year-old with the third inexplicably ruling it a draw.

The Jackal produced a masterful performance of discipline and sharpness based on a tactical plan drawn up expertly by trainer Shane McGuigan.

Dad Barry famously won the same belt 30 years ago and the win ensures Frampton cements his place in the pantheon of great Irish boxers.

Frampton's footwork was superb and although his celebrated opponent threw more punches, it was the underdog who landed the cleaner, crisper blows in front of a raucous travelling Irish support.

Frampton established a healthy lead by impressing in the early rounds but the Mexican hit back in rounds six and seven before the former reasserted his supremacy.

Santa Cruz did land a couple of big shots - especially with a right in the 11th - but Frampton took it all in his stride and fully merited the judge's decision.

The new champion said he wanted to defend the title in his home city and did not rule out a rematch - which Santa Cruz immediately called for - although he also has IBF champion Lee Selby in his sights.

"I wanted to be in a fight people would remember," Frampton said

"I wanted to be in with true champions like Leo Santa Cruz.

"This guy is a three-weight world champion. He is a true warrior and I respect him a hell of a lot.

"I would love to bring him to Belfast and show them an amazing fighter but I have a good relationship with Lee Selby's team. I want to be the best and be involved in big fights.

“I had a good game plan.

"Shane was an unbelievable coach. He told me every time I came back into the corner that we could win this a lot easier. But I won it with my heart, not with my head and I got my hand raised."

Santa Cruz meanwhile paid tribute to his opponent.

"It was a pretty tough fight but now I want a rematch," he said. "I don't care where.

"He's a great champion and he's got a very difficult style. It's hard to forget your first loss but I will go back to the gym and get a rematch."

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