Sandor Martin looks to shine in his homecoming bout against Jose Felix
Trying to be a prophet on one’s own land is one of the hardest jobs imaginable. For boxers worldwide, it is just as true as it is to anyone else. But in a non-boxing country like Spain, the job is particularly uphill.
Sandor Martin thinks he has more than what it takes to make it.
“Fighting at home is something special, and more so after that big fight in California against Garcia,” said Barcelona’s Martin (39-2, 13 KOs) in a phone interview right after his weigh-in for his fight against Mexico’s Jose Felix, which is slated to take place on Friday, April 1st in his hometown’s Palau Olímpic Vall d’Hebron. “I know I will be received very well. Ticket sales have been great. The environment here is great, people are excited to see me fight again in my hometown, and with a great opponent to boot. I am truly excited for Friday and to hear the bell already to give my fans a great show.”
The García that Martin refers to in his opening statement is none other than former multiple titlist Mikey Garcia, against whom Martin scored one of 2021’s most resounding upsets back in October. An unknown quantity before that bout, Garcia has now been taken seriously by DAZN and Matchroom, who will be pairing as broadcaster and promoters in this unique opportunity for Martin to shine in his homeland.
“My win over Mikey was my biggest professional win, but it is not the only one,” said Martin, 28, in an effort to avoid being typecast as a one-hit wonder. “I don’t want my career to be reduced to that. It is time to turn the page and look forward, to continue growing as a fighter, and the next step is this WBA international title against Jose Felix, who is an opponent with a great record and good boxing skills. We took him very seriously.”
Being the son of a boxer/trainer who introduced him to the sport in his mid-teens, Martin knows that the only secret in this craft is an undying dedication to it. And he claims he has followed that principle faithfully.
“My commitment with boxing is still the same. I am still the same guy. I have been getting good results because I have been working well, and now all I have to do is keep my feet on the ground and continue doing the same. Evidently, my win over Mikey Garcia boosted my confidence, a different attitude in the ring. But this is something that cannot affect our boxing style, which is what has taken us this far.”
His next stop in this road towards bigger and better things is to establish himself as a threat in one division, and the regional title at play (not recognized by The Ring) indicates that Martin is serious about becoming a junior welterweight challenger with the WBA, which recognizes Scotland’s Ring champion Josh Taylor as its current titlist.
“The truth is that I never wanted to change divisions. I am perfectly well here at 140 pounds, I don’t see myself away from this division,” said Martin, who is currently rated No. 10 in that division by The Ring. “What happened with Mikey Garcia was a catchweight that we found interesting, for the opportunity and the quality of the opponent. But I am a junior welterweight fighter, I make this weight easily. In fact, today at the weigh-in I was a little bit below (139.3 pounds). I am obviously waiting for a world title opportunity and I am grateful to the WBA for giving me this opportunity, they treat fighters really well and I would love to be the next WBA champion but I don’t close the door to any other sanctioning body.”
If the Panama-based organization comes through for him, his dream of becoming unified champion could be only one fight away, since Taylor owns all three other major belts.
“I want to become the unified champion. We are going to work with all the sanctioning bodies who give us that opportunity,” he said, without forgetting that a still formidable and legit challenge lays ahead for him.
“I respect Jose Felix very much,” said Martin about his foe, who owns a record of 39-5-1 with 30 knockouts but who has failed in many of his step-up challenges. “He is a fighter I have taken very seriously. If he comes with the same expectation and hope that I had in California against Mikey Garcia, I am sure I will have a very difficult fight ahead of me. I expect the best possible Jose Felix in the ring, I have prepared myself consciously, and I have not underestimated him.
“I don’t believe in easy fights. I don’t believe in easy opponents. I believe in tough fights that you have to win with dedication. Jose Felix is a very complete fighter, he can box, he can go toe-to-toe, he is very versatile and we will have to be very alert on the ring tomorrow. He has a lot of power in his hands and the fans will see a great fight. I expect a fighter that comes well prepared and willing to win.
“As for me, people will see an improved version of Sandor Martin. I will continue being the same fighter but I believe I have gained a lot of forcefulness, confidence, a bunch of things that we showed in our fight against García. In the end, it’s all about proving that we are at a good level, to adapt ourselves to any situation, and then to win and continue getting closer to our goal of a world title.”