September 6th, 2014. In a major spectacle held at the Titanic Quarter, Belfast, hometown hero Carl Frampton took on Spain’s top Junior Featherweight, Kiko Martinez.
Ever since Frampton won their first contest by knockout back in 2013, Martinez has been eager to settle the score. Critics had commented how much Martinez had improved as a fighter, which added intrigue in the run up to the night’s battle.
But one other important thing had been overlooked: Martinez may have improved, but Northern-Ireland’s Frampton had also upped his own game. So much so that the 27-year-old soundly out-boxed the Spaniard over 12 rounds that night, taming his bull-styled opponent in front of a thrilled crowd.
Frampton won via Unanimous Decision, and became the new IBF Junior Featherweight Champion. Official Scorecards came in at 119-108 (twice) and 118-111.
Frampton clearly had Martinez’s number called this time around. His footwork was even more impressive, and so was his powerful, accurate combinations. Not to mention his counter-shots, one of which – a heavy overhand-right – knocked down Martinez in the 5th round.
Martinez had his best moments of success in the middle act, but due to being mindful of Frampton’s firepower, couldn’t quite establish his bread and butter pressure. That night Frampton was the boss, the one usually setting the pace – which is quite the reverse of the first fight. (Frampton vs Martinez Winner Announcement)
Following the victory, a lot of doors will no doubt start to open for Frampton. And being under the wing of the McGuigan family, he couldn’t have better people around him in his native Belfast. Frampton is managed by Northern Ireland’s legendary Featherweight, Barry McGuigan, and trained by his son, Shane, who that evening became the youngest man in history to train a fighter to a successful world title shot.
As for Martinez, he will be welcome back on UK shores and any other continent that appreciates aggressive fighters. A predator-style such as his never has, and likely never will fail to capture the attention of fight fans the world over. Short of Carl Frampton, he will remain a force to be reckoned with at 122 pounds.
That night was certainly a huge event for Northern Ireland and UK boxing. Las Vegas it wasn’t, but the purposely-built, sixteen-thousand seat outdoor arena showed the magnitude of this fight. En route to capturing his first world title, Frampton enjoyed a sterling Amateur career consisting of 114 wins, 11 defeats, and had also picked up the Commonwealth and European titles in the professional ranks.
Frampton’s unblemished record now improves to 19 wins, 13 knockouts, while Martinez’s falls to 31 wins, 23 knockouts, 5 losses.
What’s your take on Frampton vs Martinez II? Will Frampton go on to become Northern Ireland’s next boxing great? And most importantly, can he conqueror the challenges that wait ahead, such as Leo Santa Cruz?
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