Northern Ireland news

Frampton says Santa Cruz can ‘stay at my house' for re-match

Jimmy Nesbitt and Gary Lightbody at the Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz fight in Las Vegas

CARL Frampton wants his next fight against Leo Santa Cruz to be in his home city - even offering to let his Mexican opponent stay at his house.

Frampton was beaten for the first time in his career on a majority points decision at the MGM Grand as Santa Cruz regained the belt he lost to the Belfast fighter in July.

Santa Cruz is open to the idea of a decider and Frampton wants the fight in his backyard. It would be his first fight in Belfast since February 2015.

At a post-fight press conference, the Jackal turned his attention to yet another possible showdown with Santa Cruz.

"I've come to the States twice now and Leo has said that he would do it in Belfast a third time. I hope he's a man of his word. He can stay at my house if he wants."

Close to 5,000 Frampton supporters are thought to have travelled from Ireland to the contest in Nevada.

Frampton said he was "amazed by the turnout" at the weigh-in, which made the occasion almost seem like a home contest.

Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody, actor James Nesbitt and Northern Ireland football manager Michael O'Neill were among those ringside to support Frampton.

Nesbitt had earlier been the focus of some social media attention, as people jokingly speculated about his whereabouts, following his `tipsy' interview in the aftermath of a previous Frampton win.

DUP leader Arlene Foster was among those who talked about the possibility of a Belfast fight.

"You are a champion in our eyes and boxing legend. All still behind you. Hope to see you in the ring at home soon," she said on Twitter.

And, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said: "Carl Frampton does NI proud in the boxing capital of the world, but loses by close margin. A third fight now inevitable with Santa Cruz."

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