By Ben Jacobs
Blockbuster fights against his fellow champions in the super bantamweight division surely await Kiko Martínez, although plans may have to be on hold for a short time as he recovers from an injury.
The Spaniard continued his excellent form with a seventh round stoppage of veteran Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan last month, that following successive knockout wins over Jhonatan Romero and Jeffrey Mathebula.
“We won quicker than we thought we would, we worked very hard for three months with the Sarmiento brothers,” Kiko told BoxingScene.
“I really didn’t think it would end that early, if I’m honest.
“With each training camp I feel stronger, I feel better and I’m becoming a better boxer.
“Gabriel Sarmiento brought a lot to my physical preparation and on the mental side as well. He also helped with my defence. We knew winning in Japan would be difficult because they are real warriors there. But Gabby was fundamental in my victory.”
Martínez is on a streak of four consecutive knockouts since being stopped himself by Carl Frampton. He describes the feeling that ending a fight early has for a boxer.
“You feel great because you’re not going to get hit anymore! You’ve done your job. It’s a big satisfaction after working so hard, but most of all because you’re not going to be hit anymore.
“They treated me really well in Japan and I’m happy I went over there. They’re very polite and humble people. It was incredible!
“Losing to Frampton made me a better fighter and a better person. I’m glad I lost that fight because I learned a lot. I then worked harder and won the world title. I can still get even better.”
The big question among fans that are following the super bantamweight division is where will Martínez go next? Some would like to see unification fights with Scott Quigg or Leo Santa Cruz, or possibly a rematch with Frampton.
“I have to wait to get over my injury and sit down with my promoter. So we just have to see who is offered or who I have to fight next,” he explained.
“I’m going to get massages for this injury which is an abductor muscle. It’s still too early to say but whoever Maravilla Box chooses will be a good opponent. I don’t think this injury is too serious, I actually picked it up in training camp. I think in a couple of months I’ll be fine. First I have to get over this injury and then we can start thinking about unification fights with great boxers like Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz and Rigondeaux. I’d even like to one day move up and fight Nonito Donaire.
“Right now Carl Frampton is just another fighter, he doesn’t have any belt. He only fights at home. I just consider him another boxer. There are other interesting fights like against Scott Quigg rather than a Frampton with no title.”
Would Martínez entertain a showdown with the consensus best fighter in the division? In the opinion of some observers the Cuban is being avoided.
“I would like to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux, that’s a fight that will happen in time. But I’d like a couple of other fights before. He has been on the canvas a couple of times and I think myself or the other champions can beat him.”