Monday, September 25, 2023  |



Fernando Martinez grinds down bloodied Jade Bornea, retains IBF junior bantamweight title in 11 rounds

Photo by Jhay Oh Martinez
Fighters Network

IBF junior bantamweight titleholder Fernando Martinez overcame a determined challenge from Jade Bornea, scoring an eleventh round stoppage Saturday at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minn.

Martinez (16-0, 9 knockouts) turned up the pressure in the last third of the bout, buoyed by the horrific cut which Bornea sustained on his right ear in the ninth round. The cut was reminiscent of the injury that Sebastian Lujan suffered in his 2005 match against Antonio Margarito, in another situation where a high volume puncher caused a jarring ear injury.

Referee Charlie Fitch waved off the fight midway through the eleventh as Bornea (18-1, 12 KOs) was unable to defend himself from the nonstop power punching of Martinez.

All three judges had Martinez pulling away in the fight with two judges having it 97-93 while the third had it 98-92 at the time of stoppage.

“I definitely saw the injury in the ear. The inflammation was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I hit him with a left and it popped, exploded. I even told the referee be cautious I think he’s really hurt. That’s when I just kept going at the ear and trying to finish this fight. I kept on going for blood like a shark on a mission,” said Martinez, who is rated no. 5 by The Ring at 115 pounds.

Martinez, 31, of Buenos Aires, Argentina started slower than he had in his two previous wins, dominant decisions last year over Jerwin Ancajas to lift the belt and retain it in a decision. Bornea, a 28-year-old southpaw from General Santos City, Philippines, boxed well early on, targeting the body and counterpunching upstairs as Martinez bowled in.

As the fight wore on, Martinez’s aggression began to unsettle Bornea, forcing him to the ropes and creating swelling under his left eye from right hands.

Experience became a bigger issue as the rounds progressed. Martinez, who had gone twelve rounds twice, carried his power much better than did Bornea, who had never previously fought past ten rounds.

Though the blood created a jarring visual, Bornea didn’t stop punching. What it did do was visually assure Martinez that his punches were having an effect, encouraging him to continue swinging away.

“The first seven rounds were pretty even, but then I had the injury to my ear. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. I tried to keep fighting to the end,” said Bornea, who had been training in the United States for nearly two years, away from his wife and two sons, as he chased his world title dream.

Martinez says he hopes this performance earns him bigger opportunities in a division that still features big name champions like Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez and Kazuto Ioka.

“Enough is enough. I want to face the champions. We made it evident that we are very superior to the number one contender and now we want the truly big fights,” said Martinez.

The fight opened up the Showtime Championship Boxing tripleheader, which is headlined by Carlos Adames vs. Julian Williams.