By Elliot Foster
Carl Frampton has claimed that he is willing to wait until next summer to get another world title shot.
The Ulsterman returned to the ring for the first time in 10 months on Saturday as he returned to winning ways in front of his home crowd at the SSE Arena in Belfast.
Frampton put on a thrilling fight to beat Mexican Horacio Garcia by a unanimous points decision over 10 rounds, exclusively live on BoxNation and BT Sport.
The three scoring ringside judges scored the contest, which had the capacity crowd on their feet throughout, by handing in tallies of 98-93, 97-93 and 96-93.
Frampton now has his sights set on a trilogy with Super WBA featherweight title holder Leo Santa Cruz at Belfast’s Windsor Park –– or IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby.
The 30-year-old had not fought since his only career defeat to Santa Cruz in January.
But now he claims he is feeling as strong as ever and desperate to redeem himself and return to the upper echelons of the sport.
“I wanted a tough fight and I’m ready for the big boys,” Frampton said after beating Garcia.
“There are a few boys tied up at the minute.
“Santa Cruz and [Abner] Mares are probably going to fight in the spring [in a mandated showdown for Frampton’s old belt].
“[Mandatory challenger Josh] Warrington and [IBF featherweight champion] Lee Selby are probably going to fight in the spring, too, so If I have to wait around for a fight and get one in Windsor Park in the summer then that’s what I want.”
Frampton’s comeback fight against Garcia, who had former world champion and Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez cheering him on from ringside, went the distance.
And the former WBA champion admitted that his opponent was much tougher than even he anticipated.
“He is a good guy,” Frampton added. “I wanted a tough fight, I didn’t want anything to be too easy coming back, but that has got the rust off.
“The cobwebs are gone and now I want one of the big boys. I let my team decide. I will have a lot of input.
“I had pretty much all the input in that opponent and maybe I’ll let the team decide who I fight next from now on.”