Carl Frampton will not fight Leo Santa Cruz this summer after the World Boxing Association told its featherweight champion to fight Abner Mares instead.
Tigers Bay fighter Frampton beat Santa Cruz to claim the WBA belt in New York last summer but lost the January rematch in Las Vegas to the three weight World champion from Mexico.
But the WBA have ended speculation of a third fight between the pair in Belfast by ordering Santa Cruz to defend his belt against his fellow Mexican - which will be a major disappointment to ‘The Jackal’ and his team.
But Frampton has stated that he is close to announcing his next opponent and that should happen shortly - but it will not be Santa Cruz.
The Belfast boxer has indicated that the fight is likely to take place at Windsor Park in late July or early August.
A WBA statement read: “The World Boxing Association Championship Committee ordered Mexicans featherweight Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KO) super champion and Abner Mares (30-2-1, 15 KO) regular champion working teams to negotiate their upcoming mandatory fight.
“They were given a 30 [day] negotiating period, and should they not reach an agreement, the WBA will summon a purse bid.
“Mares won the regular WBA featherweight title on December 2016, when he defeated unanimously Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar, winning the right to face Santa Cruz for the second time.”