ON July 30, Carl Frampton challenges Leo Santa Cruz for the WBA featherweight title in Brooklyn, New York. It will be Frampton’s biggest fight to date and follows a points win over Scott Quigg, which was a huge super-bantamweight unification showdown. The 29-year-old Northern Irishman believes it was his assignment previous to that, when he emerged from two knockdowns to decision Alejandro Gonzalez Jnr in July last year, that cleared the way for the big fights to be made.

“I’ve mentioned that I struggled to make the weight [at super-bantam] and I’m much stronger at this [feather] weight division,” Carl Frampton said before reflecting on the Gonzalez bout. “But I don’t think it was a close fight to be honest. I think I won pretty comfortably after the first round. The first round was a terrible round, a disastrous round. But after that I won the fight pretty convincingly.”

Carl Frampton won a wide unanimous decision over Gonzalez in Texas, and the long-awaited contest with Quigg – which saw Carl unify the WBA and IBF super-bantamweight titles – was arranged a few months later.

“To be honest, the Gonzalez fight has been a blessing in disguise. This fight with Santa Cruz I don’t think would happen unless that happened, the Gonzalez fight. The fight with Scott Quigg wouldn’t have happened unless the Gonzalez fight wouldn’t have happened. I’ve been chasing these guys for a long time. I’ve wanted to fight them.

“I’ve made myself available to Santa Cruz in 2013 I think, and the fight never happened, when he was at 122. But suddenly now all the guys that I’ve been chasing they want to come and fight me. So that was a blessing in disguise and I’m glad it happened all the fights are happening. This is exactly what I want.”