By Tom Podmore
Jason Booth's reward for his hard-fought victory over Jamie Arthur earlier this month is a crack at the vacant European super-bantamweight title. Nottingham's British and Commonwealth 8st 10lbs champion, who has come up short in three previous attempts to land the continental strap, will now meet iron-fisted Spaniard Kiko Martinez for the belt, probably in May.
Willie Casey relinquished the crown to meet Guillermo Rigondeaux for the Cuban's WBA interim title next month.
Two-time European king Martinez, who has only lost three times in 27 pro outings (17 inside), is perhaps best-remembered for his one-round blowout of future WBA champion Bernard Dunne in 2007, as well as his two points defeats to Booth's friend, Leicester's ex-EBU boss Rendall Munroe, with this belt on the line.
Interestingly, Munroe, who boxed unsuccessfully for the WBC title in Japan last year, has been overlooked for a straight shot at his old belt - a little-known rule means he would have had to won any fight to be in the mix - although will no doubt be in line to meet the winner.
An all-East Midlands showdown between two men who boxed for world titles last year would be mouth-watering.
But for hard-working Booth, 33 and 36-6 (15), he finally has a chance to annex a title that's eluded him three times in a up-and-down 15-year paid career that has seen him wear British, Commonwealth and IBO crowns.
All of those failed attempts have come on foreign shores - France (twice) and Spain - and promoter Frank Maloney will no doubt be delivering home advantage for the East Midlander, who hopes victory against the limited puncher from Madrid will secure him another shot at a recognised version of a world title.
"I'm already a bit excited for the chance and beating someone like the Spaniard, who has knocked out [Bernard] Dunne and lost to my mate Rendall Munroe, will do my position no harm," added the Tony Harris-trained box-fighter.