Junior featherweight Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland is one of the best prospects in boxing and he has wanted a fight with European champion Kiko Martinez of Spain for some time.
Twice, Martinez pulled out of the fight while working out his promotional issues, and he is now signed with the company belonging to middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
Now, finally, Martinez and Frampton are scheduled to fight, this time seemingly for real. It goes down Feb. 9 (Sky in the United Kingdom) at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Frampton’s hometown.
The 25-year-old Frampton (15-0, 10 KOs), who is managed by Hall of Fame former featherweight champion Barry McGuigan, is psyched for the fight that he wanted.
“He’s pulled out on me twice so I have a score to settle with him there,” said Frampton, who is coming of a dominant sixth-round knockout of former junior featherweight titlist Steve Molitor in September.
“It’s a great fight for the fans and one that I have craved for a long time. I had too much for Steve Molitor and he was a step-up, so I am confident I can beat Kiko and do so in style.
“Martinez pulling out in September was a blessing in disguise really, as I have been able to mature and learn even more and in February in front of another packed crowd at home, I’m looking to make another statement.”
Martinez (27-3, 19 KOs), 26, will be making his second European title defense and is on a seven-fight winning streak since back-to-back decision losses in 2009 to Rendall Munroe in a European title fight and former world titleholder Takalani Ndlovu in a world title eliminator.
“I do not read much into Carl beating Molitor as he took the fight at late notice and that’s (Molitor’s) only fight of 2012,” Martinez said. “I will beat him by KO -- there’s no alternative outcome. It is not my fault that we have not been able to do this fight so far. There have been many circumstances around that but I know that the Belfast fans will come out and support Carl as always and it will be an electric atmosphere.”
Sergio Martinez, who is from Argentina but spent several years living and fighting in Spain, recently founded a promotional company and was happy to sign Kiko Martinez.
“He is the best boxer in Spain, top three in Europe in (his) division and top 10 in the World,” Martinez said. “We have also been friends for years and he wanted to make a leap in his career and my company was there for him to do so. Carl is a talented young fighter but I believe he needs to beat the champions in hostile territory to prove that, which is what Kiko is doing.”