CARL FRAMPTON will not fight Leo Santa Cruz this summer after the World Boxing Association told its featherweight champion to fight Abner Mares instead.
Frampton beat Santa Cruz to claim the WBA belt in New York last summer but lost the January rematch in Las Vegas.
But the WBA ended speculation of a third fight between the pair in Belfast by ordering Santa Cruz to defend his belt against his fellow Mexican.
Frampton, 30, is set to announce his next opponent in the next few weeks.
The Belfast boxer has indicated that the fight is likely to take place at Windsor Park, home of the Northern Ireland football team, in late July or early August.
Abner Mares won the regular WBA featherweight title on December 2016, when he defeated unanimously Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar, winning the right to face Santa Cruz for the second time.
The Mexicans met before in 2015 in a bout considered one of the best fights of the year, which ended in a majority decision to Santa Cruz, who became the WBA featherweight super champion.
The news could pave the way for Frampton to fight IBF champion Lee Selby of Wales.