By Ben Jacobs
A world champion in Spain is usually treated as newsworthy nationwide which garners front page headlines in the major sports newspapers such as MARCA and AS in addition to El País and El Mundo. However, in a country dominated by soccer coverage, boxing is relegated to merely a side note, if that.
That does not deter Kiko Martínez from continuing his ascent in the super bantamweight division. The Spaniard, disappointed with no television coverage for the first defence of his IBF world title last Saturday night, returned to his homeland after a series of fights abroad which saw him visit Northern Ireland, Argentina and The United States.
After having been stopped in nine rounds by Carl Frampton back in February, one could have expected a difficult year ahead for Kiko. The fighter admitted in a previous interview with BoxingScene that he had some doubts following that huge setback.
Nevertheless, he has bounced back with three straight victories, all by knockout and became only the second man to stop tough South African, Jeffrey Mathebula.
“It was a bit difficult, my opponent was very tall but I worked hard and consistently throughout the fight,” a relaxed Kiko told BoxingScene.com via telephone.
“I had to throw a lot of shots to his body, the liver, and break him down and tire him out to be able to get the knockout.
“I’m pleased because Nonito Donaire couldn’t finish Mathebula off. He’s a difficult boxer with a lot of experience and I was able to do it. I’m very proud to have worked so hard and achieved my goal.
“It was a very nice feeling, it had been a while since I fought here in Spain, to be able to defend my world title here makes me feel very happy and satisfied.”
Although it’s not the role of the boxer to be involved in the negotiations as far as television coverage is concerned, Martínez is certainly disappointed at the lack of interest in his chosen profession in his homeland.
“It frustrates me a bit that people couldn’t see the fight on television, lots of people wanted to, not just in Spain, but in Mexico and other parts of the world. So yes, it does piss me off, but that’s the way it is. I hope the day will come that the people in charge at the television networks here show the fights.”
It was known before the bout that WBA regular champion Scott Quigg and Kiko’s previous conqueror Carl Frampton would be among the 3,000 plus crowd in Elche. Were any words exchanged between the three rivals?
“I was speaking to Scott Quigg, he wished me luck and said he hoped I’d win and then afterwards he congratulated me,” Martínez revealed.
“I was happy to speak to a champion and a great guy like Quigg.
“I didn’t have any words with Carl Frampton; I thank him for coming to Spain to see me. I know we’ll meet again sooner or later, but it was my night, they came to enjoy the show so there was nothing more to it. Scott Quigg is a champion, Frampton isn’t a champion of anything and he has to accept the consequences. He’ll have to wait. I’d like to now fight Scott Quigg before I fight Frampton, but these are things my promoter MaravillaBox will sort out.
“I think it has been the best year of my career, I won the world title in America and defended it at home. I started out with a loss but I’ve finished with a win. Thanks to the loss in that fight I’ve learned to win in the others.” Tags: Kiko Martinez , Scott Quigg , Carl Frampton