Leo Santa Cruz opening the door to a potential rubber match with Carl Frampton will be music to the ears of the Irishman eager to make it 2-1 in the series.
Frampton, set to fight Josh Warrington for the IBF featherweight title before the end of the year, has long been haunted by that January 2017 defeat to Santa Cruz – his only one as a pro – and has made no bones about his desire to settle the argument in 2019.
Back in June, Frampton told Boxing News: “It’s the fight I want more than any other. It’s one each at the moment and it makes sense for us to have a third one.
“But I feel like I’m the only one talking about it all the time, almost to the point where I look like I’m being a bit desperate. But it’s not that. I just want to settle the score and see who the best man is.
“I think he should feel the same way as me. But it seems I’m the only one being vocal about it at the minute.”
This, however, is seemingly no longer the case. Speaking to FightHype, Santa Cruz said, “If I win my next fight, I want to fight Carl Frampton. People want that fight; I want that fight.
“I want to make the third fight against him. He wants the third fight too.
“I’m positive it’s going to happen next year.”
Frankly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a rivalry more deserving of a third and final fight. After all, the first encounter, won by Frampton in July 2016, was a competitive one, even if the winner seemed obvious, and the same can be said for Santa Cruz’s victory in the rematch, too. Again, it was a close contest and Santa Cruz, boxing more intelligently than before, seemed a deserved victor.
Most of all, though, the reason Frampton and Santa Cruz need to do it all over again is because the 24 previous rounds they have shared were as good as it gets in the lower weight classes. Exciting, ferocious, and full of tenacity and technique, who in their right mind would say no to more of that?
Warning, America: A ‘Juggernaut’ is on its way.
Yes, it’s true, Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce is taking his unique brand of monosyllabic seek-and-destroy to the United States of America and will first look to impress fans in Ontario, California on September 30.
On a Premier Boxing Champions card headlined by Victor Ortiz vs. John Molina Jr, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist will lock horns with Iago Kiladze in an eight-rounder televised on Fox Sport 1 and Fox Deportes. It will not only be Joyce’s first outing Stateside, but also his first fight under the guidance of new trainer Abel Sanchez.
“I have a plan and a goal to get where I want to be to win a world title,” Joyce said on Tuesday at a media lunch in Los Angeles. “I’ve settled in at Big Bear and it’s like my second home. I’m just looking forward to making my American debut and showing the US fans my style and putting on a really good show and a strong performance. Stay tuned. Watch my progression in the US, because I’m going to be heavyweight champion of the world.”
His opponent, Kiladze, 26-3 (18), is a 32-year-old from Georgia, based in Los Angeles, and unquestionably marks the sternest test of Joyce’s five-bout pro career. He has been stopped twice already this year, first by Adam Kownacki (in five rounds) and then by Michael Hunter (in six), but is mixing in decent company, can punch a fair bit himself, and tends to go down fighting. Paired with Joyce, it should make quite the eight-round fight.
“I’ve looked at Kiladze’s record and he has a good knockout percentage and a lot of good experience,” said Joyce. “He’s a strong guy but I’m just going to have to look a little more closely and work out his strengths and weaknesses and capitalise on that.”
Or, as is Joyce’s custom so far as a pro, he’ll simply get in the ring, march his opponent down, whack him a few times, and finish the fight standing over him.