BOXING: Carl Frampton aiming to have huge 2017 after massive 2016

Carl Frampton is looking to have a huge 2017
Carl Frampton is looking to have a huge 2017

Carl Frampton had a huge 2016 but the WBA Featherweight World champion believes 2017 could even be better as he prepares to defend his title against Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas on January 28.

The Tigers Bay fighter had a massive 2016 as he unified the super-bantamweight title by taking apart Scott Quigg in Manchester at the end of February for the IBF and WBA belts before doing the near impossible by dethroning three weight world champion Santa Cruz in New York in July for the Mexican’s featherweight World title.

A rematch with Santa Cruz will happen in the coming weeks and ‘The Jackal’ believes 2017 will be even better than the last 12 months.

“2016 was a year I will never forget but 2017 potentially has a chance to be even better.

“I am looking forward to getting it going. We are kicking off with a great fight. This is not just for publicity and I am not a spoofer - this is going to be a good fight.

“There is no doubt about that and I hope people come out to see it,” he added.

And Frampton believes he has got Santa Cruz’s number before they meet in the MGM Grand and he is sure that he knows more about his opponent after facing him in New York in the summer.

“When I fight people and I spar people, I feel like I improve the second time.

“I feel I have a good boxing brain and I can adapt to different situations. Kiko Martinez is the only man I have fought twice as a professional.

“I knocked him out in the ninth round the first time I fought him and it had been a very tough fight until the stoppage.

“The second time I fought him he had the momentum. He was a world champion and I beat him on points. It was a shut-out. It was comfortable and that is because of the first fight.

“And I think this time it is going to be the same. I know everything about Leo and if you look at all his fights, he fights the same way every single time.

“He comes head first, he throws lots of shots,he is very fit and he is very tough.

“But I know all about him now and that is going to be the difference,” added Frampton.

And much has been made about Santa Cruz fighting near his LA base but Frampton says he has no problems fighting in the champions backyard.

“It is not about how much noise the crowd makes, it all about what happens in the ring and I can fight away from home.

“I fought against Scott Quigg about 30 minutes from his home and I beat him in a very noisy atmosphere, and I think it is going to be the same in Las Vegas,” said Frampton.