GLENDALE, Arizona – Julio Cesar Martinez is young enough to correct the mistakes he’s made in his career.
He’s always aware enough to know that he can’t afford any more letdowns.
The reigning WBC flyweight titlist enters fight week with a renewed spirit ahead of his title defense versus Spain’s Samuel Carmona this weekend at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale. Arizona (Saturday, DAZN 8:00 p.m. ET). A win on Saturday will put Mexico City’s Martinez in prime position, with Matchroom Boxing poised to secure unification bouts for the long reigning champ.
“This fight is crucial to my goal of becoming undisputed champion,” Martinez told BoxingScene.com. “The plan, even with the new opponent, was always to win on [Saturday] and then go for all the flyweight belts next year.”
Martinez (18-2, 14KOs; 2ND) has held the WBC flyweight title since a ninth-round knockout of former champ Cristofer Rosales in their December 2019 vacant title fight. Just four title defenses have followed, the low rate of activity due to a combination of bad luck, injuries and a prior lack of discipline.
He also enters the fight having not won since last June. His two fights that have followed are a No-Contest with interim WBC titleholder McWilliams Arroyo last November and a March 5 loss at junior bantamweight to Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (51-3, 41KOs), who faces lineal 115-pound champ Juan Francisco Estrada for a third time in Saturday’s main event.
This Saturday’s contest was originally slated to come in a rematch with Arroyo. Their odd series has seen four separate postponements and with their one actual fight ending in a No-Contest after two rounds of action last November 19 in Manchester, New Hampshire. That fight came after two delays, with the rematch now twice postponed after separate attempts in 2022 to get on the schedule.
Martinez twice fell ill and suffered an injury during his three separate withdrawals, while Arroyo—a 2008 Olympian for Puerto Rico—was the cause of the fallout this time around due to a back and neck injury. A quality replacement was secured in Carmona, a 2016 Olympian for Spain who also boxed in the World Series of Boxing prior to turning pro in September 2019.
The other significant change heading into this weekend was in his corner. Martinez spent the entire training camp under the guise of Eddy Reynoso, a two-time Trainer of The Year and normally Martinez’s manager but who took the lead in the day-to-day workouts and who will be the main voice in the corner on fight night.
It’s part of the plan to ensure that Martinez is poised to meet the other flyweight titleholders in the ring next year. Lurking in the weeds are a pair of unbeaten titlists in IBF claimant Sunny Edwards (19-0, 4KOs)—easily one of the best pure boxers in the sport—and WBA beltholder Artem Dalakian (21-0, 15KOs). Also arriving at the weight is former WBC 115-pound champ and rising star Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (17-0, 11KOs), who aims to become a two-division champ when he faces Mexico’s Cristian Gonzalez for the vacant WBO flyweight title next March.
“I’ve worked with Eddy Reynoso for this entire camp in San Diego and we’re ready to defend the title on Saturday,” vowed Martinez. “We came here to do with what I do best, that’s leave the ring with my hand raised in victory.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox