Carl Frampton came through the toughest fight of his fledgling career to knock-out Kiko Martinez in the ninth round and claim his European super-bantamweight title at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Saturday night in-front of a adoring Northern Irish crowd.
The unbeaten Frampton, was forced to dig deep and turn in his best performance to date to overcome the against the determined Spanish champion, who previously had never been stopped in 30 fights.
Martinez was in inspired form away from home and was determined to hang onto his belt, he made the fight a very physical one and never stopped coming forward hurting Frampton at times and the Irishman had to bite on the gumshield at times and fight fire with fire to keep himself in front on the scorecards.
Frampton, 25, began to find his range and was coming on strong by the mid point in the fight, however, Martinez was always pushing Frampton and never gave him a moments rest and was having success with his left hook that was landed regularly, although it was the challengers own right hook that was having a slight effect when it was landed flush.
Martinez had suffered a cut early as the fight got rough and ragged at times and Martinez began to force his work and constantly walking into range to get his shots off while taking Frampton’s counters, but his approach was to be his downfall.
With Martinez’s cut worsening in the second half of the contest Frampton looked to be adapting better to the pace and intensity of the fight and began to pick his shots better while staying out of range. The counter shots he had been lining up, eventually paid off and the move to get the finishing shot in came right out of the How to Box text book.
Frampton anticipated Martinez’s attack, and as he came in Frampton step back slightly on his back foot and with swift reactions threw the right hand that caught Martinez coming in, doubling the impact of the shot and dropping the Spaniard heavy. Credit to the champion he hadn’t come to lose his European title and tried his best to get himself up, he did eventually beat the count but his legs were wobbly and wouldn’t steady quick enough and as he stumbled around trying to get his balance the referee stopped the fight.
“I told him I’d out-box him at the start and out-fight him at the end,” Frampton told Sky Sports afterwards.
“I went in with one of the hardest punchers in the division and I could take them all day.
“It feels amazing. I want to thank everyone for coming out here. I want the whole of Belfast to be proud of me. I want to be the world champion and I’m well on the way.”
Frampton is still calling out British champion Scott Quigg and afterwards his name was matched with him again. Both boxers want that fight to happen, with both believing they have each others number. It is a fight that will surely happen, but when is a different matter. Both are on the cusp of a world title shot and the feeling is it wont happen anytime soon. Maybe both will take different routes for now and when bargaining chips are at there highest and hoping both remain unbeaten on there individual quests, that fight when it happens this year but more likely next, will be a potential classic between two genuine high class performers, pick a winner!
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