Monday, March 27, 2023  |



Roman Martinez wins WBO title with hard-fought UD over Orlando Salido


Roman Martinez survived a desperate late rush from Orlando Salido to win the WBO junior lightweight title by unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Martinez (28-2-2, 17 knockouts) of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, knocked down Salido (42-13-2, 29 KOs) of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, in Rounds 2 and 5, plus had the advantage of a point deduction in Round 11 to secure the scores 114-111, 115-110 and 116-109.

The 32-year-old Martinez utilized his height and reach advantage early in the fight, setting Salido up at the end of his right hand in Round 2 for the first knockdown. Salido survived and came back strongly in Rounds 3 and 4, making Martinez uncomfortable with his constant pressure.

Martinez maintained his composure and outlanded Salido whenever there was distance, and dropped Salido again with a delayed reaction from a right hand toward the conclusion of Round 5.

Salido, who had won in all three of his previous fights in Puerto Rico, including two knockouts of Juan Manuel Lopez, fought on as if he hadn’t been knocked down in the earlier rounds, seizing the initiative while bulling straight forward with his head down, inviting a fight.

Salido lost a point in Round 11 for a low blow but did enough to earn the advantage in the 12th round.

The win gives Martinez his third reign with the same title while ending Salido’s three-fight winning streak that saw him hand Vasyl Lomachenko his only pro defeat and stop Terdsak Kokietgym in a 2014 Fight of the Year candidate.

Also on the card, McWilliams Arroyo returned to the win column with a third-round knockout of Victor Ruiz at the 1:32 mark. Arroyo (16-2, 14 KOs) of Ceiba, Puerto Rico, dropped Ruiz (18-5, 13 KOs) in Rounds 1 and 3 to force the stoppage.

The win was Arroyo’s first fight since facing IBF flyweight titleholder Amnat Ruenroeng in September, where he knocked the Thai champion down in his home country before losing a split decision.