Kiko Martinez vs Josh Warrington: Expect the unexpected as the featherweights go to war – What We Know!

Josh Warrington (right) and Kiko Martinez (left) go head-to-head in Leeds on March 26

In February final 12 months, as UK boxing made it’s behind closed doorways return following a close to two-month hiatus as a consequence of elevated coronavirus restrictions, Josh Warrington and Kiko Martinez each fell to bitterly disappointing defeats, on the identical card, at Wembley Enviornment. 

The beforehand unbeaten Warrington was dropped, shocked and finally stopped by the little-known Mauricio Lara in the principle occasion, whereas Martinez – a preferred veteran of the sport – fell to a factors defeat towards Britain’s Zelfa Barrett, who was handed a extremely controversial large factors determination. 

Now, simply 13 months later, Warrington – who beat Martinez again in 2017 – will tackle the Spaniard as soon as extra, this time for the IBF featherweight world title, in a bout few may have foreseen because the lights went out on that fateful night. 

If there’s something that we’ve discovered from the 2 fighters during the last 12 months or so, it’s that come combat night time we should always anticipate the surprising.  

Josh Warrington (proper) and Kiko Martinez (left) go head-to-head in Leeds on March 26 

The pair clashed back in 2017, with Warrington emerging victorious via a majority decision

The pair clashed again in 2017, with Warrington rising victorious by way of a majority determination

For Warrington, a rematch towards the aged Spaniard, 36, was actually by no means a part of the plan. In actual fact, previous to his shock defeat by Lara, the Leeds fighter vacated his IBF strap in pursuit of a historic match-up towards Xu Can, with the governing physique pushing for a second bout towards Child Galahad, who he’d already overwhelmed. 

As a substitute got here catastrophe. Introduced in for Warrington to shake off the cobwebs, having been out of the ring for some 16 months, a extremely assured Lara rapidly exhibited his now recognised fearsome punch energy, as he battered the previous champion from pillar to put up for 9 rounds. 

It was the primary time Warrington had tasted defeat in his skilled profession. He may neglect about legacy fights; his conquest for featherweight domination must wait. As a substitute, all eyes had been on an eagerly-anticipated rematch towards boxing’s in a single day star. 

Was Warrington simply taken unexpectedly? Did he overlook his seemingly lesser opponent? And will he flip the tide and show it was a one-off? Effectively, for now, the solutions stay unknown, with the rematch stopped after simply two rounds. 

Sadly, although maybe not for Warrington, who was already transport some punishment, an unintended conflict of heads compelled a untimely conclusion, with a trilogy bout – for those who can name it that – parked for a future date.  

The outcome – a technical draw – has left Warrington with out win since his two-round demolition job towards Sofiane Takoucht in October 2019, together with his stoppage defeat to the Mexican the featherweight’s solely significant outing since. 

Warrington was dropped, rocked and shocked by Mauricio Lara (left) in their bout last year

Warrington was dropped, rocked and shocked by Mauricio Lara (left) of their bout final 12 months

Warrington jumped straight into a rematch, which ended in a technical draw after two rounds

Warrington jumped straight right into a rematch, which led to a technical draw after two rounds

An accidental clash of heads left Lara with a nasty cut above his eye and unable to continue

An unintended conflict of heads left Lara with a nasty reduce above his eye and unable to proceed

For Martinez, nevertheless, he lastly will get his want: a rematch towards his former conqueror, although this time coming in because the A facet and as champion.    

And what a narrative it’s. Few, if any, fancied Martinez to pose a lot of a menace to newly-crowned IBF champion Galahad when the pair got here to blows in November final 12 months, with the Brit vowing to ship a decisive victory in entrance of a house Sheffield crowd. 

For the primary 4 rounds, it was all going to plan; Galahad was in full management. However within the dying seconds of the fifth, the Brit was dropped closely by a thunderous looping proper, earlier than Martinez instantly ended the competition within the sixth with one remaining, brutal straight-right.      

The Spaniard turned a two-time world champion within the blink of an eye fixed, with the spotlight reel knockout sending shockwaves around the world – although few had been as stunned as Warrington. 

‘So I’m within the takeaway, I get my telephone out, I’m on Twitter, I see that Alex Arthur put, ‘Kiko seems to be shaky in spherical one,’ Warrington later detailed. ‘I assumed, “I do know the place that is gonna go, it’s gonna be a straightforward night time”.

‘So I jumped within the automobile and thought, “I’d stick it on”, however for some purpose the automobile radio wasn’t working. After which I get about half a mile from my home and there’s one thing happening – my telephone’s gone completely nuts.

‘I had about 40 messages, “Are you watching the boxing Josh?” I rush into my home and my missus turns spherical and goes, “Kiko’s champion”. I dropped my kebab all around the carpet. I had a doner kebab – it was chilli sauce all around the furnishings. I couldn’t imagine what I used to be seeing.’

Martinez stunned the world with a shock knockout win over Kid Galahad in November last year

Martinez surprised the world with a shock knockout win over Child Galahad in November final 12 months

The Spaniard became a two-time world champion with a sixth-round stoppage victory

The Spaniard turned a two-time world champion with a sixth-round stoppage victory

Martinez modified the course of the featherweight division together with his out-of-nowhere onslaught now 4 months in the past, however regardless of Warrington’s shock on the time the Yorkshire fighter will know greater than anybody he’ll must be on prime type come March 26. 

Certainly, Warrington’s victory over Martinez again in 2017 – on the First Direct Enviornment in Leeds, the place the upcoming bout will happen –  wasn’t precisely a stroll within the park. 

After 12 rounds of brutal motion Warrington was given the nod by two of the judges who scored the combat 116-112 in his favour, whereas the third noticed it a 114-114 draw. And although Martinez has put some additional miles on the clock since – additionally falling to 2 subsequent defeats – Warrington assures the menace stays actual.     

‘He’s at all times harmful,’ Warrington stated. ‘I’ve acquired to be massively switched on as a result of what he did towards Galahad goes to indicate that if I’m not switched on, it’s good night time Vienna.

‘Timing, pace and reactions die off however punch energy doesn’t. That was testomony to it proper there.

‘I’ve discovered that within the final 18 months greater than anybody. Have a look at the primary Lara combat, being too cocky, overlooking an opponent, considering one thing was a given and ended up getting stopped in 9 rounds.

‘I don’t need that to occur once more and it received’t be occurring this time.’

Warrington is well aware of the threats a heavy-handed Martinez will pose on fight night

Warrington is nicely conscious of the threats a heavy-handed Martinez will pose on combat night time 

For the fighter who does come out on prime, a monumental conflict awaits. The featherweight division is actually alive and kicking, notably after Leigh Wooden’s sensational victory over Michael Conlan. 

The Nottingham fighter, following his assertion win over Xu final 12 months, has emerged as a significant participant within the featherweight division, with a blockbuster all-British showdown towards Warrington undoubtedly now a stadium combat. 

Following their disappointing draw, Warrington’s rival Lara has himself acquired again to profitable methods with a scintillating back-and-forth three-round stoppage victory over Emilio Sanchez earlier within the month. 

Additionally within the combine is WBC champion Mark Magsayo and WBO prime canine Emanuel Navarrete, two potential match-ups which seize the creativeness to say the least.  

However as for the outcome come combat night time, whatever the bookies’ odds – which see Warrington because the favorite – it actually may go both means. 

Leigh Wood furthered his status as a major player in the featherweight division with victory over Michael Conlan

Leigh Wooden furthered his standing as a significant participant within the featherweight division with victory over Michael Conlan

Warrington could set up an enticing trilogy bout with Lara should he emerge victorious

WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete is another potential option for the winner

A win for Warrington may arrange a trilogy bout with Lara (left) or probably WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete (proper)

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