Carl Frampton outpoints Kiko Martinez, wins IBF 122-pound title
Carl Frampton outboxed former foe Kiko Martinez en route to a unanimous decision victory in front of 16,000 hometown fans in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Saturday. Frampton, who won by scores of 119-108 (twice) and 118-111, earned the IBF junior featherweight title with his classy performance.
Frampton (19-0, 13 knockouts) controlled most of the action by carefully stepping to his left, away from Martinez’s power hand (the left hook), during most of the fight. The popular Irishman dropped Martinez with a right hand in Round 5, and repeatedly nailed the rugged Spaniard with right crosses while on the fly throughout the fight.
Martinez (31-5, 23 KOs) had success in spots, especially whenever he was able to get Frampton’s back to the ropes and exchange with him but he wasn’t able to put enough effective pressure or hard punches on the hometown hero to win more than a few rounds.
Frampton stopped Martinez in nine rounds in their first encounter last February, but the veteran pressure fighter rebounded by winning four in a row, including his IBF title-winning stoppage of Jhonatan Romero last August. The fearless globe trotter defended the belt twice with TKOs against veteran former titleholders Jeffrey Mathebula and Hozumi Hasegawa, making many hardcore fans and boxing insiders give him a shot to win Saturday’s rematch.
However, Frampton, THE RING’s NO. 1-rated junior featherweight, showed his class and boxing ability in the biggest bout of his career (and one of the biggest fights hosted in Northern Ireland in many decades).
A full report by Tom Gray will be posted shortly.