Carl Frampton to fight Andres Gutierrez on July 29th
Belfast fighter will face Mexican at Odyssey Arena in first bout since Santa Cruz loss
Carl Frampton will fight Mexico’s Andres Gutierrez on his Belfast return. Photograph: William Cherry/Inpho
The 30-year-old lost his WBA featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz in their rematch in January, and despite a desire to fight the Mexican for a third time or challenge Wales’ Lee Selby, instead meets the little-known Gutierrez.
Next month’s match-up represents Frampton’s first in his hometown since he defeated Chris Avalos at the same arena in February 2015, and is expected to lead to a further fight later this year against another of the featherweight division’s biggest names.
Gutierrez, 23, has lost only one of his 37 fights, drawing another, but is yet to compete at world level. He has also only twice fought outside of Mexico, on each occasion doing so in the US.
“I understand why (Santa Cruz) didn’t come (to Belfast to fight),” said Frampton. “He had just won the title, the money he was being paid in the States, it needed to be on a Pay-Per-View show and there wasn’t a Pay-Per-View date available in the summer.
“I was disappointed he didn’t come but it’s one each between us and I’m hoping that fight will happen at some point. I need to get past Gutierrez first and that’s a really difficult fight. I’m completely focused on one man and that isn’t Leo Santa Cruz.
“I wanted this to be in a big arena but it just wasn’t to be. I desperately want to fight at Windsor Park at some point. I know people have travelled to New York and Las Vegas; I’ve got a loyal fan base.
“Leo Santa Cruz, he didn’t want to fight Gutierrez when he was at super-bantamweight, that’s the story I’m hearing. He didn’t want anything to do with him. This guy is an avoided fighter.”
Frampton’s compatriot Ryan Burnett, incidentally, on Saturday became a world champion when also at the Odyssey he won the IBF bantamweight title against Lee Haskins.