BOXING: Frampton’s mind is on the game

WBA Super World Featherweight World Champion Carl Frampton with his challenger for the title Leo Santa Cruz at the Europa Hotel.

WBA Super World Featherweight World Champion Carl Frampton with his challenger for the title Leo Santa Cruz at the Europa Hotel.

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Carl Frampton is sure he is in Leo Santa Cruz’s head before they clash for the WBA Featherweight World title in Las Vegas on January 28.

The two met in Belfast yesterday before they trade blows in the MGM Grand early next year and the ‘The Jackal’ was playing mind games with the Mexican, claiming that if he catches him clean, the game is up for the former three weight World Champion.

“I hurt him clearly in the first fight - visibly - in the second round, and I believe I stiffened his legs a couple of times throughout the figh. And he knows that, that’s in his head.

“I believe, if I’m smarter, I can win more convincingly but also hurt him more.

“I was throwing shots, lots of shots, when I could’ve been maybe putting more power into single shots.

“When he was throwing punches he was throwing them from out of range, and that’s because he was fearful of getting hit, as I hurt him so early in the fight, and that was the plan.

“He didn’t hurt me in the fight and he’s got reasonable power but I walked through anything he had.

“I was much more comfortable at featherweight and I feel that I am going to be even more comfortable again this time.

“I didn’t know what to expect in my first fight, how I was going to last the rounds, but now I know I can do it.

“If I nail him a little bit cleaner I can knock him out,” he added.

And Frampton also promised fans a Belfast fight next summer if he makes it past Santa Cruz in Las Vegas.

“When I retain my title I will come back here next summer to defend my belt. I promise.

“Fighting in Las Vegas is another box ticked but I have one more to do and that is defend a World title at Windsor Park and I believe I will do that in the summer.

“That would be a dream come true but I am totally focused on Santa Cruz in Las vegas,” said Frampton.