Carl Frampton believes he ‘is living the dream’ as he prepares to defend his WBA Featherweight World title against Leo Santa Cruz on February 28.
‘The Jackal’ defeated the Mexican on points in New York at the end of July to claim the crown after seeing off Scott Quigg in Manchester for the IBF and WBA Super-bantamweight World titles in February.
It has been quite a few months for the Belfast fighter and he wants 2017 to be even better.
“I had a great year in 2016. Obviously beating Scott Quigg to unify the super-bantamweight division, and then beating Santa Cruz to win the featherweight world title. It is a year I will never forget,” Frampton said.
“But now we are into 2017 I am planning an even bigger year.
“I want to eclipse 2016, and I firmly believe the next 12 months could be a massive year for me.
“The aim is to have three fights this year, including one in Belfast. I would love to fight at Windsor Park in the summer, so hopefully that can happen.
“I am starting early in 2017 with the Santa Cruz fight on January 28, and I can’t wait to fight out in Vegas. It is another dream come true for me.”
And Frampton says he is feeling great as the fight - at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas - gets closer.
“I am confident I will knock this guy out on January 28. The signs are good in training and I just can’t wait to get out there. I feel good, young and fresh and Santa Cruz will discover just how good I am.
“I have felt great in training. I know a lot of boxers say they have had an ‘amazing camp’ and they feel ‘in the best shape ever’, but I really do feel that way.
I am knocking my sparring partners out, and I am better than ever.
“I turn 30 this year but I feel like a young 30. I am adjusting my training a little bit. I used to bust myself in every session, but now I will do a really tough one followed by something not so hard. I am hurting people in sparring and I feel in my prime.
“I am looking forward to this fight and I am bringing the belt back with me to Belfast.”