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Published: 22:16 | 11/10/17

Frampton still keen on Santa Cruz rematch

Carl Frampton says a rematch against WBA world featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz "just has to happen".

Frampton will fight Mexico's Horacio Garcia at the SSE Arena in Belfast on 18 November in his first bout since losing his WBA featherweight title to Santa Cruz in January.

Former IBF and WBA world super-bantamweight champion Frampton is keen to take on the Mexican again after the Garcia fight, and claim back the world featherweight crown he initially won by beating Santa Cruz in New York in July 2016.

"Santa Cruz is the fight I want more than any other because he beat me," the Belfast boxer told BBC Sport. 

"I want it more than [IBF featherweight world champion Lee] Selby or [WBO featherweight world champion] Oscar Valdez because I feel I can right a wrong.

"I like Leo, we get on well. We've had two good fights, two close fights; I won one, he won one. It just makes sense doesn't it? Sense for boxing fans all over the world and financial sense for me and Leo as well.

"It just has to happen."

Frampton, 30, who has previously stated that he wants to retire from the sport by the age of 32, says he has cut the number of sparring sessions he undertakes in order to protect himself from brain damage.

"I've got two kids and a missus. I don't want problems after boxing. You need to be careful," he told BBC Sport.

"You have heavy gloves and a head-guard on but if you talk to any other boxer about the amount of rounds they spar there is nobody getting close. Most do maybe 100 or 120 for a 12-round fight and I was doing 220. It was a lot.

"You're just taking punishment every day, getting hit all the time. That's something we're going to cut back on. I'll train hard but the sparring will be cut in half."

Photo: Getty Images/ Charles McQuillan

Carl Frampton's fight against Horacio Garcia at Belfast's SSE Arena on Saturday,18 November will be shown live on the eir Sport pack. Belfast boxer Jamie Conlan will face Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines for the IBF world super-flyweight belt and triple Olympian Paddy Barnes makes the first defence of his WBO European Championship title on the same bill.

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