Frampton backed to regain belt in Santa Cruz decider

Carl Frampton will “100 per cent” regain his WBA featherweight title in a deciding fight against Leo Santa Cruz, his manager Barry McGuigan has predicted.

Frampton suffered the first defeat of his professional career in Las Vegas last weekend after Mexican fighter Santa Cruz made it 1-1 in fights between the pair.

The duo have been involved in two pulsating encounters that have both gone the distance, and they are now expected to meet for a third and final time – potentially in Frampton’s native Northern Ireland.

If negotiations for that fight are successfully concluded, then McGuigan is in no doubt that Frampton will get the belt back around his waist.

“He lost a decision but he was incredible, he was courageous but he was just a little sluggish – he wasn’t as sharp as normal and that made the difference,” said Cyclone Promotions boss McGuigan.

“He was sluggish to begin with and because he was sluggish we were chasing. He had to become an attacking fighter and that’s not his best game.

“Carl is disappointed, but he shouldn’t be disappointed. He didn’t give himself an easy job when he started off the way he did but he pulled it back and look at the way he finished in the last round.

“We won’t start getting into making excuses – he didn’t win the fight. He had a woeful start but we’re 100 per cent confident that he’ll win the third fight.”