Sunday 18 February 2018

5 potential opponents for Carl Frampton's next fight

Carl Frampton has numerous options ahead of his next fight
Carl Frampton has numerous options ahead of his next fight

Carl Frampton is already targeting his next opponent after impressively defeating Leo Santa Cruz to win the WBA featherweight title on Saturday at the Barclays Centre in New York.

Here, Press Association Sport evaluates five potential opponents for the 29-year-old's next fight.

1. Leo Santa Cruz

The Mexican-American has already spoken of his desire to avenge what was the first defeat of his professional career. That Saturday's fight was considered both competitive and entertaining only enhances the chances of a rematch between the two. He may yet opt to take a warm-up fight to rediscover some momentum, even if his confidence remains high, but would need to adapt if they were to fight again. Frampton showed the greater variety, and Santa Cruz's work-rate proved insufficient.

2. Lee Selby

Selby, 29, is the IBF champion and has similarly been positive about what would represent a significant domestic fight, as well as unify two of the division's world titles. That he and Frampton share the same advisor, America's Al Haymon, would appear to reduce the difficulty involved in securing a potential match-up between the two. Another possible Selby opponent, Josh Warrington, again won at the weekend, but the Welshman is adamant he has missed his chance to challenge him.

3. Gary Russell Jnr .

The impressive 28-year-old American is the WBC champion, having won 27 of his 28 fights. His past fight in April produced a stoppage of Patrick Hyland and came after a run of 13 months out of the ring. Often described as possessing "the fastest hands in boxing", Russell Jnr's only defeat came against the exceptional Vasyl Lomachenko, one of the greatest amateurs in history and after seven professional fights already considered one of the world's best. He could yet surpass Santa Cruz as Frampton's greatest challenge.

4. Scott Quigg

Quigg, 27, suffered a broken jaw on the February night that could prove the biggest of his career. His highly sought-after unification fight with long-term rival Frampton proved a significant disappointment when he was convincingly outclassed in a fight that was expected to be both entertaining and competitive. He and trainer Joe Gallagher got their tactics wrong, but the bravery he showed in fighting on with such an injury should not be overlooked. Should Frampton not secure the fight he wants, a rematch with Quigg - who like Frampton is big at super-bantamweight - is not unthinkable.

5. Abner Mares

Like Santa Cruz a Mexican-American, Mares has only lost at featherweight, and at world level to Santa Cruz and Jhonny Gonzalez. He has also previously won world titles at bantamweight and super-bantamweight. The combination of that and his reputation as a world-title contender may yet make him a suitable opponent for Frampton's first title defence if he wishes to remain busy before pursuing another of the division's biggest names.

Press Association

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