Carl Frampton (24-1, 14 KO’s) is getting for one of his toughest career fights, against former four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24 KO’s) at Belfast’s SSE Arena on the 21st of April.
The contest is the toughest for Frampton, since losing his WBA featherweight world title in a close twelve round decision to Leo Santa Cruz at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas a year ago.
Frampton, who handed Santa Cruz his first career defeat in 2016, had hoped to get a trilogy fight with the Mexican boxer.
The two sides were unable to reach a deal because Santa Cruz refused to cross over to Belfast for the third fight - after promising to do so.
Frampton, who fought Santa Cruz twice on United States soil, did not see a reason to face him for a third time overseas.
Santa Cruz even issued a warning to Donaire - to do everything in his power to take the fight out of the judges' hands.
“Santa Cruz has said that the judges are too easily influenced by my fans and has warned Nonito Donaire that he will not get a fair shout when we meet on April 21st," Frampton told Sunday Life.
“That’s an insult to Belfast and to the judges but more than that I think it just confirms what I’ve been thinking for a while, that Santa Cruz will never come to Belfast.”
“Instead of talking nonsense and sending out excuses for not wanting to face me in Belfast, which he said he would do on more than one occasion, he should show some cojones like Donaire and agree to come here or maybe he would prefer if we have the third fight in an empty hall.
"Every fighter likes to box at home and for me it’s great to have the backing of my fans, I can’t overestimate what it means to have their backing – it gives you that extra push and drive because I don’t want to let them down.
“But Belfast fans have always been fair – they know a good fighter and if there’s a bad decision they won’t stand for it even if it is a local man so Santa Cruz has no excuse for not coming here. Even when we fought in New York Santa Cruz was complaining about my fans influencing the judges which seems crazy.”