Elche, Spain Kiko Martinez successfully defended his IBF junior featherweight title when he defeated Jeffrey Mathebula with a ninth-round knockout on Saturday.
Martinez was backed by the home Spanish crowd at Esperanza Lag Pavilion. He attacked relentlessly from the start against Mathebula, a former world champion, until he brought the South African down with a hard body blow.
I just kept hitting and hitting until I could hurt him, Martinez told Marca radio. He is a great opponent and an intelligent boxer. It was hard work. I hit him in the body and he ended up on the mat. And I prayed he wouldn't get up. I just want to be respected so that when someone fights Kiko Martinez they know they will be in a war."
Martinez recorded his 30th win, including 22 knockouts, to go with four defeats.
In August, Martinez upset Jhonatan Romero of Colombia in Atlantic City to claim the title. This was the Spaniard's first title defense.Tags: Kiko Martinez