Who’s the Man? Kiko Martinez predicts potential Gary Russell Jr.-Josh Warrington outcome
Former IBF junior featherweight titleholder Kiko Martinez would be an interested bystander if the much-discussed contest between WBC featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr. and former IBF counterpart Josh Warrington comes to pass.
The rugged Spanish fighter would be well placed to offer an opinion on the proposed contest, having previously shared a ring with both men. Martinez lost a 12-round majority decision to Warrington in May of 2017 and was stopped in five rounds by Russell in a WBC title attempt in May of 2019.
Warrington (30-0, 7 knockouts), who is rated No. 1 by The Ring at 126 pounds, recently vacated his IBF title and will face Mauricio Lara over 10 rounds on February 13.
The working plan is then to face either, No. 2-rated Russell (31-1, 18 KOs) or No. 3-rated Xu Can (18-2, 3 KOs), potentially with the vacant Ring Magazine belt on the line in April.
Martinez feels Russell’s superlative skills would be pivotal if the American were to emerge victorious.
“The main key is his speed, of course,” Martinez told The Ring through Oscar Zardain. “Also his southpaw stance and ability to move around the ring avoiding the attack of his opponent.”
Conversely he believes Warrington needs to turn the bout into a dog fight.
“He is very strong and he can fight at a fast pace with a high volume of punches,” he said. “His strategy is very good too.”
Martinez broke down each fighter in 10 key categories:
Russell: Very fast, too fast for my reflexes.
Russell: Very difficult to hit. He has very good footwork [which made it difficult to land punches].
Russell: Of course, speed is his biggest strength.
Russell: He has very good footwork.
Warrington: He is very intelligent and a very good tactician.
Warrington: He is a big guy for the featherweight division and a real athlete.
Russell: Speed kills. He is not the biggest puncher that I faced in my career but he can hurt you with his speed and accuracy.
Warrington: He is very strong and he can take hard punches. I hit him in our fight with very good punches on the chin and he resisted.
Russell: Russell has better boxing skills. Warrington has good fundamentals too but Russell is more complete.
Russell: It is a difficult question but maybe Gary is a little more complete than Warrington.
Martinez is torn on the outcome of the fight but, by the smallest of margins, sides with the American speedster.
“In my opinion, it’s a very close fight,” reasoned Martinez. “Both fighters have very good skills and the winner can be decided by details. To be honest, this would be a fight that I would never bet on. I would pick in favor of Russell [by a percentage of] 55-45.”
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