Julio Cesar Martinez and McWilliams Arroyo have arrived at a familiar place – with their fight once again postponed.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Martinez was once again forced to withdraw from a scheduled WBC flyweight title defense versus Arroyo. The Mexico City native has reportedly fallen ill and will not be able to proceed with his scheduled rematch with Arroyo which was due to take place Saturday at Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed the development after seeing BoxingScene's breaking news story, as did event promoter Matchroom Boxing.
"We [deeply] regret the WBC confirms that WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez has pulled out of the fight vs interim WBC champion McWilliams Arroyo," Suliaman confirmed. "Exact details are yet to be disclosed . WBC will be addressing this terrible situation."
It remains unclear whether Arroyo will remain on the show. Messages left with Arroyo's co-promoters Golden Boy Promotions and Promociones Miguel Cotto went unreturned as this goes to publish.
The fallout marks the third time that Martinez has withdrawn from this specific matchup, once in each of the last three calendar years. The two were due to collide in a rematch of their November 2019 No-Contest in Manchester, New Hampshire, the lone occasion on what is now four attempts at producing a fight.
Mexico City’s Martinez (18-2, 14KOs) withdrew from a planned August 2020 title defense versus Puerto Rico’s Arroyo due to a chest infection. Their fight was back in play last February on a DAZN show in Miami Gardens headlined by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Martinez added a new plot twist in participating in all fight week events while concealing a hand injury which prevented him from entering the ring.
The WBC approved a request by Arroyo and his co-promoter Promociones Miguel Cotto—who guides the Puerto Rican’s career along with Golden Boy Promotions—to remain on the show in an interim title fight. Arroyo claimed the belt following a fifth-round knockout of late replacement Abraham ‘Choko’ Rodriguez, though he had to wait nearly nine months for the fight with Martinez to make its way back to the schedule.
Their November 19 DAZN-streamed title consolidation bout saw both boxers hit the canvas in the opening round and Arroyo down again in round two. The fight was stopped in between rounds when Arroyo was deemed unfit to continue due to a cut from an accidental clash of heads.
Martinez returned to the ring this past March 5, officially missing weight despite moving up to junior bantamweight to face former four-division champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (51-3, 41KOs). The fight moved forward after Martinez met the same-day weigh-in terms, only to drop a lopsided twelve-round decision.
After the fight, the long-reigning WBC titlist was instructed to revisit his title consolidation clash with Arroyo who remains the interim titlist. The risk of having to reschedule the fight is now the burden of the WBC, who would be within its rights to strip the jovial but troubled flyweight titlist.
Aside from frequently cancelling on Arroyo, Martinez also bailed on a planned December 2020 title defense versus countryman and former strawweight champion Francisco ‘Chihaus’ Rodriguez—also in San Antonio—after suffering a non-Covid related illness.
Arroyo has not fought since the two-round no-contest with Martinez last year. He has fought just twice since the pandemic, with his ring activity greatly impacted by his elusive divisional rival.
The rest of the show proceeds as planned, though down to three title fights from four originally scheduled. Headlining the show, Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (15-0, 10KOs) defends his WBC junior bantamweight title versus former two-time champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43KOs).
Also on the card, undisputed welterweight queen Jessica McCaskill attempts her second defense against Alma Ibarra. The show’s original opener—which is now elevated one spot higher—pits unified WBA/IBF junior featherweight titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev and WBA mandatory challenger Ronny Rios in a bout that was rescheduled from the same November 19 show that featured Martinez-Arroyo, when Rios tested positive for Covid.
The new televised opener will pit Camden's Raymond Ford (11-0-1, 6KOs) and locally based Richard Medina (13-0, 7KOs) in a battle of unbeaten featherweight prospects.
Martinez has held the WBC title since scoring a ninth-round knockout of former champ Cristofer Rosales in their December 2019 vacant title fight in Phoenix, Arizona. Just four successful defenses have followed, including his no-contest with Arroyo.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox