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  • By Miguel Maravilla Photo Ester Lin Showtime

Leo Santa Cruz Ready for Frampton

Undefeated WBA featherweight champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) of Lincoln Heights, California by way of Huetamo, Michoacan, Mexico, is set for to take on undefeated former world champion Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) of Belfast, Northern Ireland this Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York live on Showtime Championship Boxing. We spoke to Santa Cruz prior to his departure to New York as he talked about his camp and upcoming fight with Frampton.

“I have never been to New York not everyone knows me. I want to a great fight to more fans,” Leo Santa Cruz told Southern California “Frampton is an Irish star this is the toughest fight of my career. That is what I wanted he is well prepared and is an undefeated fighter like me, he don’t want to lose and I don’t want to lose,” Santa Cruz added.

Santa Cruz wrapped up camp as he prepared at the Who’s Next Boxing Gym in Industry, California, Santa Cruz he began camp working with his brother Antonio Santa Cruz along with his other brother, former world champion Jose Armando Santa Cruz.

“It’s been different with my brother he don’t yell at me like my dad. My brother is calmer,” Santa Cruz said. “He is calmer with me but I am use to my dad. Even though we don’t like it we need that tough love,” Santa Cruz said.

Camp was somewhat quiet until the demanding presence of head trainer/father Jose Santa Cruz arrived. Mr. Santa Cruz was recently diagnosed with cancer and is currently in the process of receiving treatment for his illness, limiting his role.

“Since I learned about my dad I was sad. My dad told us to be strong. I know if he tells us not to be weak because then he will be weak. The main thing I want is my dad in my corner,” Santa Cruz said “The first time you hear of cancer you think of death but we have faith in god,” Santa Cruz added.

We spoke with Mr. Santa Cruz about his son’s preparation for the fight and his status.

“It has been intense I have been undergoing treatment and trying to be here in camp. Leo is looking great, he is ready. I have not had an active role for this camp but I am here now,” Mr. Santa Cruz told “He is well prepared everything I have worked on with him Antonio has also done. All I know is that I will be at the fight,” Mr. Santa Cruz added.

This is not the first time the champ goes into a fight facing adversity. In 2012 his older brother Roberto was diagnosed with lupus as he was preparing for an upcoming fight. Miraculously his brother Roberto was able to overcome his illness and Leo was would score a spectacular knockout.

“First we had my brother and now my dad. I want to give it my all to make my dad proud. I will be well prepared mentally and physically,” Santa Cruz said.

Coming off a fifth round stoppage of former world champion Kiko Martinez, this past February in Anaheim, California, Santa Cruz defended his WBA featherweight title for the first time. Earlier that day, Carl Frampton unified the WBA and IBF super bantamweight titles with a dominant performance winning a decision over previously undefeated Scott Quigg and broke Quigg’s jaw in the process at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England setting the stage for the featherweight showdown.

“Frampton is one of my toughest challenges he has great skills and power. He moves around the ring good,” Santa Cruz said “I see a lot of things I can take advantage of. If I use my jab and right, I think he can go down. I will break him down to the body then the head,”

Santa Cruz vs. Frampton will be a scheduled twelve round championship bout for Santa Cruz’s WBA featherweight title.

“I want to make it a war but my dad says sometimes we have to fight smart. We are taller so we will use the reach and box. I will go after him to make him fight. I will stay on top of him,” Santa Cruz said. “Winning this fight will put me on the next level. We want to get this win then unify and move up to 130,” Santa Cruz concluded.

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