Carl Frampton vs Kiko Martinez II Confirmed for 6th September- IBF Super Bantamweight
Carl Frampton's long awaited shot at a world title has now been confirmed. On the 6th of September he will once again face Spaniard Kiko Martinez for the IBF Super Bantamweight Championship of the World, at a venue yet to be announced.
The last time the two met, on the 9th of February last year, we saw Frampton taken out of his comfort zone and pushed harder than he had been in his entire career when Martinez decided to lay it on thick and fast in the second, hunting Frampton around the ring for the rest of the fight, until he was timed coming in with a hard right hand that ended the fight.
Kiko has meanwhile been busy.
His impressive knockout win over the undefeated Jonathan Romero, where Martinez' power was too much for him to be denied Romero's Super Bantamweight IBF strap, was followed by two knockout defences of that same belt- the most recent of which was this April, where he went to Japan to defend against Hozumi Hasegawa. Martinez clearly doesn't mind going to his opponent's home turf to defend his belt, which is a good thing, because the Frampton fight is certain to be in Belfast, and it's sure to be rocking with Frampton's followers.
Martinez's words on the fight imply some sort of obsession with defeating Frampton. Since the day of the fight he says, he's been up at 05.00 to train, thinking about beating Carl Frampton. 'For me, beating Carl Frampton is a bigger motivator than unifying the belts'. That's a bloody bold statement to make, and goes some way to revealing just how personal that loss was to him. Marinez is out to prove he is better than what we saw from him against Frampton last year.
Does he believe he can beat Carl Frampton though? Yes it's very personal for him to beat the man, but does he really have the belief that he can pull it off. Last time, Kiko turned the heat up to full, and Carl happily sweated it out with him as long as Kiko wanted to keep the pace up. Now Frampton's fitter and stronger.
Last time around, Kiko was hitting Carl with some seriously hard, clean shots, but Frampton was taking them without a hitch, and always coming back with more- it was the Spaniard who ended up cut and swollen from Frampton's clean crisp combos, which he fired on the move.
Last time, Kiko gave everything he had, and he fell short.
Does Matrinez really believe he's got enough to do it this time? Word is that he's been packing up and fleeing his home country every time Frampton's been in town, so scared is he of facing the Brit again. I wouldn't mind hazarding a guess that Martinez knows Frampton's quality is too much for him to handle, and that he's been offered a shed load of money to stand toe to toe with him again. Frampton on the other hand, wants nothing more than to face someone he knows he can best, for the championship of the world no less- an achievement he's been hungering after since he first laced up the gloves. Frampton celebrated the announcement of the rematch: 'I’m over the moon to be fighting for a world title in my hometown. I have to thank my team for making this happen and now it is time for me to deliver. I am fully focused on September the 6th and Kiko Martinez. It’s been my dream since I started boxing to become a world champion and I have worked so hard to get this far, now is the time for me to fulfil that dream in front of the best fans in the world.'
Martinez, come September I bet, will come on in the same old way, and get beaten in the same old way- Frampton has declared boldly that he will not be keeping fans waiting for longer than 6 rounds to see the Spaniard beat, and I have every faith that he will deliver on his promise.