Carl Frampton celebrated a major victory on Saturday night when he beat Mexican Leo Santa Cruz by majority decision to win the WBA featherweight title bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In doing so, he became the second Irish man to win world titles at two different weights. The former WBA and IBF super-bantamweight champion from Belfast moved up to the 126-pound featherweight division to defeat Santa Cruz and claim the same belt his own manager, Barry McGuigan, won in 1985 at Loftus Road when he defeated Eusebio Pedroza.
In an action-packed fight, Frampton hurt Santa Cruz with a left hook in the second round, but Santa Cruz recovered well in the middle rounds before the two served up some memorable final rounds of action.
After the final bell, Judge Guido Cavalleri scored the contest at a tie (114-114), but Frank Lombardi (116-112) and Tom Schreck (117-111) ruled in favor of Frampton, the Irish Independent reports.
The previously unbeaten Sanat Cruz had won the title in August last year and was making his second defense in New York on Saturday.
"I'd like to thank my travelling support but also the Irish Americans. It was a tough fight...I wanted to be in a fight that people would remember,” said Frampton after the fight.
"Leo Santa Cruz is a true warrior. I respect him a hell of a lot - and a hell of a lot more after that fight.
"I had a good gameplan - Shane McGuigan (Barry's son) is an unbelievable coach. I fought with my heart rather than my head sometimes but I'm glad I got my hand raised.
"The game was to hit him hard and make him earn my respect. I hurt him in the second round I think."
Frampton, who hopes to defend the title in his home city, did not rule out a rematch. However, he also has IBF champion Lee Selby on his radar.
He added: "I'd love to bring him (Santa Cruz) to Belfast and show them an amazing fighter but I have a good relationship with Lee Selby's team. I want to be the best and be involved in big fights."
Santa Cruz has already set his sights on a rematch.
"It was a pretty tough fight but now I want a rematch. I don't care where,” he said.
"He's a great champion and he's got a very difficult style. It's hard to forget your first loss but I will go back to the gym and get a rematch."