By Ed Leahy
Carl Frampton made light work of Hugo Cázares in Friday night’s WBC super-bantamweight world title eliminator in Belfast and immediately served notice on champion Leo Santa Cruz.
The Belfast boxer knocked out his Mexican opponent in the second round in front of a capacity crowd at The Odyssey Arena and is now looking at landing the world title as mandatory challenger for the WBC belt.
“I want that fight now,” Frampton told BoxNation ringside after the devastating victory.
Frampton was keen to put on an entertaining show in front of his 9,000 fans and went on the attack from the opening bell, forcing Cázares onto the back foot.
And the Tiger’s Bay fighter enjoyed plenty of success in the opening exchanges landing some solid straight blows and always looking to set up the big right-hand shot.
Frampton then beckoned his opponent to come out and fight early in the second round and Cázares took the bait, as the two fighters went toe-to-toe in the centre of the ring.
Cázares hurt his leg after a low shot from Frampton and the referee gave the Mexican time to recover from what looked like a dead leg.
But just twenty seconds later Cázares was on his knees after a brutal left hook from Frampton knocked the Mexican out.
Cázares appeared to mistime the count and objected to the referee stopping the contest; however, Frampton believed that his opponent had no intention of fighting on.
Frampton said: “It was a great performance and a one-punch knock-out of a guy who hadn’t been stopped since 1999. He can complain all he wants, and he said he misread the count but he didn’t want to get up.
“It felt good, so onwards and upwards. I’m mandatory for Leo Santa Cruz now. He’s a great fighter and someone that I admire but I want that fight now and I hope we can do some work and get that pretty soon.
“The support I get from Belfast and all over Ireland is second to none. I’m very humble and very grateful to everyone who comes out and pays their hard-earned money to come and watch me so hopefully I’ll do the same when I get Santa Cruz.”
“It was a great performance and a one-punch knock-out of a guy who hadn’t been stopped since 1999" - Carl Frampton
Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan will now have his work cut out for him to lure Santa Cruz to fortress Belfast, although a bigger venue than The Odyssey will be needed, such will be the demand to see that fight.
McGuigan said: “We certainly hope that it does come here because you cannot beat these fans, they are incredible.
“This is the best atmosphere in the world. I’ve said it a dozen times and I’ll say it again, the Belfast boxing audience are the most amazing people. They just give you an edge and they really know their boxing.
“So we really want the fight to come here, Ravenhill, possibly the Balmoral grounds, but there is going to be a lot of negotiating before that.
“I really hope that it can happen here but Carl is good enough to travel. We don’t mind if we have to travel. We want it to be here ideally but we’re willing to travel to America. East coast, west coast. It doesn’t matter.”