By Ben Jacobs
Next stop on Kiko Martínez’s world tour is Japan for the second defence of his IBF super-bantamweight title on April 23. Experienced Hozumi Hasegawa will be the man on the opposite side of the ring trying to snatch away Kiko’s belt and the former world champion will be tough opposition to overcome in his home country.
For this training camp Martínez is currently based in Madrid where he is working with not only his usual trainer Pablo Sarmiento but also Pablo’s brother, Gabriel, who has rejoined the fold.
“Pablo is my trainer still but Gabriel is working as my strength and conditioning coach,” Kiko told BoxingScene.
“I feel very positive things working with Gabriel. He and Pablo are very similar, but they bounce off each other and make each other better trainers. One guy knows how to do one thing well and the other can do something else well. They’re both very professional.”
Kiko has also been training alongside Sergio Martínez who has left Spain to embark on a press tour for his June 7 super fight with Miguel Cotto.
“Sergio is a great professional and he brings a lot of positive vibes to the training camp, he´s looking very good.
“Things are peaceful here, I’m living right next to the gym and Sergio also feels very comfortable here. I’m not sure though if Sergio is going to stay in Madrid for the whole training camp. I don’t know his plans.
“He won’t have any problems [against Cotto]; he’s a sportsman who takes care of himself all year round.”
Hasegawa is a former WBC world champion at bantamweight and featherweight; despite those credentials he has suffered knockout loses to Jhonny Gónzalez and Fernando Montiel in recent years.
“I see that he’s a good boxer and champion but I’m in the best form of my life and I’ll be keeping my belt and carrying on as champion,” Martínez assured.
“I’m pleased to go and box in Japan. I’m the type of boxer who is used to fighting away from home. I was fortunate to fight Jeffrey Mathebula in Spain but I also like fighting away. The fight won’t be shown on Spanish television but it will be shown in Japan so people can see it, maybe on the internet.”
Much talk has been made of a possible rematch between Martínez and Carl Frampton who stopped the Spaniard in nine rounds last year, but Kiko did not want to comment too much on that subject, nor address the rumours that he was offered the rematch before the Hasegawa bout was made.
“I have a great fight coming up in Japan with a good opponent so that’s all I’m thinking about. I’m not sure if [Leo] Santa Cruz and Frampton would fight because it seems like Frampton doesn’t want to fight away from Ireland and Santa Cruz won’t go to Ireland.
“I don’t know what shape [Hugo] Cázares is in but I don’t think he can beat Frampton.”
There is also discussion amongst fight fans that Martínez and Scott Quigg could meet in a unification bout should they come through their forthcoming respective encounters. Quigg meets veteran Panama-based Venezuelan Nehomar Cermeño on April 19.
“You’d have to ask MaravillaBox but I’d love to fight Scott Quigg, he’s a great boxer, someone I respect.”