Carl Frampton won the European super-bantamweight title with a stunning ninth round knockout victory over Kiko Martinez. The Spaniard's credentials could not be challenged, being a three-time champion, and as predicted he gave the 'Jackal' the toughest workout of his 16-fight career.
But this was Frampton's 'coming-out' party and he announced arrival in spectacular fashion, Martinez walking on to a short right-hand that dropped him for the first time in the fight. And it proved to be the last blow of the night as the brave Martinez clambered to his feet, only to sway into the ropes leaving the referee little choice but to wave it off.
The end was a surprise when it came though, the result of a hard right hand that caught the champion square in the face, although the preceding two minutes must surely have weakened the Spaniard's legs.
It was the first time Martinez had been stopped in a 30-fight career and Frampton was delighted with the performance.
"It feels amazing," Frampton said on Sky Sports 1. "I just want to thank everyone who came out here. I just want the whole of Belfast to be proud of me. I want to be a world champion and I'm getting close. (It was a) very tough night. He was harder to hit than I thought. He's tough as nails. He's a nice guy and I'll shake his hand.
"I told him I'd outbox him at the start and I'd outfight him at the end - and that's exactly what I've done. He's a big, big puncher. People had doubts about my chin. It just shows I've got a solid chin. He's one of the hardest fighters in the super-bantamweight division and I could take him all day."Tags: Kiko Martinez , Frampton vs Martinez , Frampton-Martinez , Carl Frampton