GLENDALE, Arizona – Julio Cesar Martinez tried in vain to slow down a mobile Samuel Carmona.

He instead had to settle for a majority decision win over his unbeaten challenger, in a decision well received by the crowd after a fight that everyone wanted to forget.

Judge Kevin Scott had the WBC flyweight title fight scored 114-114 even. His card was overruled by judges Javier Camacho (117-111) and Chris Flores (116-112) in favor of Martinez, who defended his belt for the fifth time in the DAZN-aired co-feature Saturday evening from Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

The relentlessness of Mexico City’s Martinez was evident early, throwing wide hooks with reckless abandon. Carmona’s amateur pedigree came into play, as the unbeaten Spaniard—a quarterfinalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics—offered a crisp jab and constant lateral movement in his best effort to neutralize Martinez’s attack.

Martinez stayed true to script, constantly coming forward in rounds two and three. Carmona tried to offset the attack on the strength of his jab and counter left hook. His best response was simply to move in reverse and out of harm’s way.

The ring suddenly became a smaller place in round four. Martinez quickly and effectively closed the gap, every landed punch—and even the ones that were blocked—creating a cracking sound. Carmona managed to withstand the attack, as he tightened up his defense and even managed to snap back Martinez’ head with a sharp jab inside the final 30 seconds of the round.

Carmona literally boxed circles around Martinez for much of round five. Martinez stood in the center of the ring looking to land a game-changing shot. Carmona exploited the one-dimensional approach, pumping his jab and constantly moving to Martinez’s right.

Martinez grew keen to the approach and let his hands go in round six. Carmona was on the run, as Martinez drew a rise out the crowd after landing a left hook and looping right hand.

The pro-Martinez crowd grew increasingly impatient over the second half of the contest. Carmona transitioned from boxing to constant motion without throwing any punches in return. Martinez did his best to force the action, including a full-on bull rush which stopped Carmona in his tracks and forced him to clinch late in round eight.

More of the same came of the ninth round. Martinez came forward while Carmona used every inch of the ring to stay out of harm’s way. The boos grew louder, though the visiting Carmona refused to change his style just to appease the crowd. Martinez was naturally wild but sparingly with his punches, mostly catching air in his best effort to turn a boxing match into a fight.

Carmona found his offense to some degree late in round ten. He managed to land an occasional jab and right hand on the occasions when Martinez forced an inside fight. Martinez’s best moment came in the middle of the ring, perfectly timing a mobile Carmona with a left hook and flush right hand.

Martinez walked into a left hook early in round eleven, as Carmona landed the shot after avoiding a wild one-two from the defending titlist. Carmona spent the rest of the round on the move, to where Martinez refused to follow him in the final ten seconds as he instead chose to stand in his corner until the bell.

Carmona flashed a sturdy beard, remaining upright after Martinez slammed home a left hook across his chin in the final round. Martinez sought to build on the moment but found it difficult to land more than one punch at a time on his defensively superior foe. Carmona landed a left hook to the body early in the round, and boxed his way to the finish line before jumping in the arms of his cornerman in confidence of having dethroned the long-reigning titlist.

The judges felt otherwise, as Carmona returns to Spain with his first defeat as his record fell to 8-1 (4KOs).

Martinez advanced to 19-2 (14KOs; 2NC) with his first win since last June. In between came a No-Contest after two rounds with McWilliams Arroyo, whom he was supposed to face on Saturday in a rematch. Arroyo withdrew due to a back and neck injury, the fourth postponement in their series with Martinez to blame on the other three occasions.

Martinez’s only other fight during that stretch was a lopsided twelve-round defeat to Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (51-3, 41KOs) as a late replacement for lineal junior bantamweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (43-3, 28KOs) on March 5 in San Diego.

Estrada and Gonzalez meet in their long-awaited trilogy clash in Saturday’s main event.

As for Martinez, there is legitimate talk of a potential unification bout with IBF champ Sunny Edwards in the first half of 2023. Carmona provided a template of how to deal with constant movement, though Edwards is far more skilled and a master in the art of making you miss and then making you pay.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox