The Jackal won the fight after 12 rounds, with two judges seeing it in Frampton’s favour and one seeing it as a draw.
The Northern Ireland fighter and Leo Santa Cruz put on what could be fight of the year in the early hours of Sunday morning. Both men stood and exchanged in a number of rounds and the speed of the fight was outstanding.
It was the first defeat of Santa Cruz’s career and the mexican immediately expressed his desire for the rematch straight after.
Frampton became the first Northern Ireland fighter to become champion at two different weight classes. “I wanted to be in a fight people would remember,” said Frampton.
Frampton saw his hand raised. Pictured alongside Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan. (The Mirror)
Saturday’s fight was Frampton’s first as a professional at featherweight, having moved up a division after unifying the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles by beating England’s Scott Quigg in Manchester in February.
The Belfast boxer, in his fifth world title fight, made the stronger start, forcing Leo back onto the ropes with heavy punches in the second.
The slick Mexican was doing more work but Frampton’s percentage of punches landed was clearly greater on the night. Santa Cruz finished strongly and many fight fans scored it differently. Some had it a draw, some had it either fighters way, only the judges could decide.
One judge scored it a 114-114 draw but the others made Frampton the winner, 116-112 and 117-111. Frampton had won, much to the delight of the travelling fans who came out in their numbers.
Framptons manager, Barry McGuigan who had previously held the same title, said: “This is one of the greatest nights of my life.”
The newly crowned champion has made it clear he wants Welsh fighter Lee Selby, but hasn’t ruled out a rematch with Santa Cruz in Belfast.