Trilogy talks – Carl Frampton reveals negotiations with Leo Santa Cruz have begun

Carl Frampton [26(5)-2(0)] has revealed that his team have already held talks with Leo Santa Cruz and Óscar Valdez with regard to making world title fights.

‘The Jackal’ still hasn’t officially declared whether he has retired or not after suggesting he would hang up his gloves following his defeat to IBF world champion Josh Warrington last December.

The Belfast fighter did state he would fight on if he could secure big and meaningful fights with any of the aforementioned trio, suggesting he still has what it takes to fight at the top but is lacking the motivation for a lengthy rebuild and lesser opponents.

It seems the former two-weight world champion may just get his wish as talks with both WBA titlist and two-time opponent Santa Cruz [35(19)-1(0)-1] and WBO champ Valdez [25(20)-0] have taken place.

“There’s already been discussions with Leo. There’s already been discussions with Oscar Valdez, so these are potential opponents,” Frampton said on the first episode of TKO, JOE.ie’s new boxing podcast.

While Valdez is talking unifications with Josh Warrington, his promoter Bob Arum has pin-pointed Frampton as a potential opponent. Similarly, Santa Cruz has been suggesting a clash with WBC champ Gary Russell Jr but it has been reported that PBC bigwigs are open to a Frampton rubber match.

The Tiger’s Bay boxer just wants big fights and has told his team as much..

Frampton outlined how “I sat down with Frank [Warren] a couple of weeks ago. I’ve sat down with MTK as well, and I kind of told them what I want, which is big fights. The last thing I want is to have a scenario where you have to have three fights to get a shot again at a world title, because if that was the case, I think I would pack it in right now. So they know what I want, and everyone’s all on board.”

Frampton is confident he remains a big name in the featherweight division meaning there will be fan interest in seeing him challenge for a world title – and also stressed his Warrington reverse may just make him seem more appealing to the champions.

“And I still believe, you know, I lost my last fight, not an ideal scenario, but I’m still a big name in the division. And sometimes, when you lose a fight, other fights can be easier to be made. And that’s happened in my career before, where I was… I didn’t lose a fight, but I was dropped [by Alejandro Gonzalez Jr] in Texas twice in the first round, I got the [Scott] Quigg fight and the Santa Cruz fight.”

“Off the back of that, so they see a vulnerability, and they think, ‘We’ll take advantage of that now.’”

Frampton is currently ticking over at home in Belfast.

Arum has suggested Frampton as an opponent for Valdez as early as next month but a summer return looks on the cards, with the soon-to-be-32-year-old wanted to get through his upcoming May court case with Cyclone Promotions first.

Listen to Round 1 of TKO with Carl Frampton here

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]