What’s next for unified champion Frampton after overcoming Quigg?
Lee Gormley | February 29, 2016
What next for unified champion Frampton?
After impressively outpointing Scott Quigg at a sell-out Manchester Arena to unify the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles, Carl Frampton has opened a realm of career opportunities for later this year and further down the line.
The Belfast-born world champion’s opponent swiftly outlined hopes of a rematch, as well as his deflated trainer Joe Gallagher and promoter Eddie Hearn, with one rogue American judge having scored in favour of their man in a surprise split decision ruling.
But following his victory, Frampton reiterated his desire to move on to bigger and better contests after a perfectly executed gameplan in Manchester, which saw him pocket a cool £1.5m purse.
“I expected a boring fight with Scott backing off from the start and only making a fight of it when he got desperate. But I couldn’t say too much about that in advance of a pay-per-view fight,” admitted the 29-year-old.
“I have huge respect for Scott. He is a very good fighter and he will be back to win one world title or another. Just not mine.
“The purses are important for the future of my family but I don’t think about the cash. I won’t realise how much I’ve earned until I go to the hole-in-the-wall back home in Belfast and check my bank balance.”
With Frampton now truly set to enter the big time of boxing, here are potential future opponents for the unified super-bantamweight champion.
The Tiger’s Bay fighter will now have plenty of options for his upcoming bouts after a Manchester masterclass, but the one opponent that holds potential for a huge match-up, if he remains at super-bantamweight, is clinical Cuban Rigondeaux.
He had kept a close eye on the recent Box Office meeting, with the 35-year-old looking to build his reputation in the UK with a strong performance against surprise opponent James Dickens on March 12th, which he is odds-on 1/15 to prevail from and 14/1 to face a stunning upset.
Frampton has expressed his willingness to get in the ring with the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, who is a genuine master of the defend-and-counter arts, with the former WBA title-holder having been ducked heavily by other leading super-bantamweights.
“I believe I am the only man in the division who can beat him [Rigondeaux] and box office or not I would like that fight for my legacy at some point,” stated Frampton.
Rigondeaux will look to put on a show for the Liverpool crowd on the undercard of Terry Flanagan’s awaited lightweight title defence against Derry Matthews (10/3 to win), as a potential showdown with Belfast’s finest Frampton looms on the horizon.
In similar circumstances to what happened to heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Frampton may see one of his well-earned straps taken away, as the IBF have ordered him to defend their belt against mandatory challenger Wake.
The Japanese competitor has worked his way up to a title opportunity, despite possessing a far from spectacular record, and such a fight would do little to boost Frampton’s already growing stature, but would represent an easier defence to that of a Rigondeaux dust-up.
Although, a homecoming IBF defence back in Belfast would undoubtedly sell out if the right venue is chosen, with his fans having proved their loyalty and dedication by packing out the Manchester Arena.
Leo Santa Cruz
Another possibility for Frampton is to make a move up divisions after a successful defence, with three-weight world champion Santa Cruz being the most promising choice for a highly-lucrative match-up on American soil.
The Mexican-born Californian dispatched Spaniard Kiko Martinez in five rounds to retain his WBA featherweight crown on the same night as ‘the Jackal’s’ latest coup, and stated: “Since Frampton won, if he’s ready to go up in weight, I’m ready for him. I challenge him to a fight whenever he’s ready.”
Well done to Leo Santa Cruz and commiserations to my friend Kiko Martinez. Fancy a summer showdown @leosantacruz2? I'm ready
— Carl Frampton (@RealCFrampton) February 29, 2016
Both world title holders are keen on coming face-to-face, in what could be a highly marketable meeting in the United States this summer or beyond.
“That’s obviously an easy fight to make because he’s with [Frampton’s US-based advisor] Al Haymon and so am I. That’s a big fight, a potential blockbuster,” declared the Irishman.
“I think it will be an exciting fight, a real exciting fight. It’s all about styles matching together. I think me and Santa Cruz would gel very, very well and it would be a barnstormer.”
“If the public demand [a rematch] – I don’t think they will, but if they do – then we will do it again. But if not we move on to bigger and better things,” declared Frampton after outscoring Manchester’s Quigg.
The Shore Road fighter outclassed Quigg over the distance in their PPV encounter, but a second meeting is likely to generate more of a following further down the line, when the latter Bury warrior has returned to winning ways and regained momentum or possibly another world title.
“There’s nothing in the contract, no [for a rematch]. We kind of had an agreement that if the fight is good enough we will do it again in Belfast,” he added.
“But we will see, if the people want to see it again we can do it again, and I am open to all options really.”
Frampton pinpointed Welshman Selby as one of two potential featherweight opponents in the near future, and another domestic battle with a fellow Al Haymon-advised champion could be an epic either in America or on home soil.
A clash in the UK would make more sense financially, but both fighters have already delved into the States beforehand and began to grow their reputation there.
“I’m happy to stay at super-bantamweight but if a big fight comes calling up at featherweight – Leo Santa Cruz, Lee Selby or any of these guys, I’m ready for it,” outlined ‘the Jackal’.
After becoming the unified super-bantamweight kingpin, the fighter from the streets of Belfast looks to continue his rampant rise to boxing prominence beyond his homeland, with further high-profile Frampton bouts looming large for an extremely dedicated and talented world champion.