Sunday 11 December 2016

Frampton and Santa Cruz get ready for rematch

Published 30/11/2016 | 02:30

WBA featherweight champion Carl Frampton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
WBA featherweight champion Carl Frampton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

They smiled, embraced and shook hands with the manner of old friends re-united at a marriage reception in the Europa Hotel.

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Eight weeks from now in Las Vegas, Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz will be wedded together in hostility - the one constant being a healthy respect.

A year ago we were treated to an altogether different spectacle, the bad blood between Frampton and Scott Quigg's camp seemingly spilling out from every aspect of the build-up to their super-bantamweight unification clash.

Frampton would put Quigg to the sword and then engage in the 2016 fight of the year when taking the Mexican's WBA world featherweight title in July.

Now they will do it all again and both expect to be stretched to produce their best - even needing another sliver of grit to triumph and they will do it with a savage intensity contained in their fists and not their lips.

"He's a nice guy, respectful to me and anyone like that I'm going to be respectful back. The fight sells itself, there was no hype before the first fight and it was a great fight and this one is going to be the same - if not better," said Frampton, who received a rendition of 'There's only one Carl Frampton' from his legion of fans before he could take the mic and express how much he is relishing this rematch.

Santa Cruz echoed those sentiments as he summed up what January 28 was all about.

"Carl is a great champion and person, I met his kids with mine and we do this for our families," said the challenger.

"When we get up into the ring we give everything for our family's future. We do what we do best and make a great fight for the fans.

"In a fight anything can happen but we'll be well prepared and if we do go down we will have the ability to get up again."

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