WBC super-bantamweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz has opened the door to a potential blockbuster showdown with Irish sensation Carl Frampton.
The Belfast banger takes on IBF champion Kiko Martinez this Saturday night in front of 16,000 local fans, as he hunts his first world title, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
Should he prevail, the 27-year-old could set up a mammoth unification clash with superstar Santa Cruz, with the Mexican even willing to cross the Atlantic if it makes sense.
“I think Carl will beat Kiko Martinez and become champion then it’s a fight that I would love to make happen between us,” said Santa Cruz. “If my team think it’s the right move I have no objection coming to fight in Belfast. It will be a huge fight with two world champions and it’s the type of fight that fans love to see – a unification fight.
“We both have business to take care of first - I have my fight with Manuel Roman on September 13th and he has to beat Kiko Martinez – but if we both win then maybe we could be sharing the ring together,” he said.
The unbeaten 26-year-old believes that a fight with Frampton would be the all-action affair that fans love to see.
“Carl’s been saying he wants to fight me and I’ve seen him in a couple of fights. He’s a great fighter, undefeated, he comes forward like me and throws parallel punches and pressures a lot. So I think it would make a really great fight for the fans,” said Santa Cruz.
“With both our styles it could be a ‘Fight of the Year’ because we both throw a lot of punches and are aggressive. It would be a very exciting fight wherever it happens,” he said.
Frampton’s mind, however, is strictly on doing the business this weekend, well aware that he can’t look too far ahead just yet.
He faces Martinez for the second time, having overcome him early last year via a ninth round stoppage but the Ulsterman says he hasn’t done anything different this time around in training and is adamant he won’t let complacency slip in.
“The only thing different in this camp is it’s been a little bit longer than the last camp with Kiko. I’ve prepared very hard. I’m in a good frame of mind and completely focused on Kiko Martinez,” said Frampton.
“I’ve done exactly what I’ve done in every single fight before, but obviously the only problem that there could be in this fight is complacency from me. And I understand that, but I’m not going to let that happen,” he said.
Frampton has captured the imagination of the Belfast boxing public, with a sell-out expected at the purpose built stadium in the Titanic Quarter, the stuff of dreams for the local hero.
“I’m the challenger in this fight, but to have a stadium purpose built for me as the challenger, in my own backyard, for a world title fight is kind of what dreams are made of.
“So I’m excited, and have been for a long time. I just can’t wait to get in the ring now and become a world champion and make my family and fans proud,” Frampton said.