Kiko Martinez and Josh Warrington will meet in a rematch, just not in a way most boxing fans would’ve envisioned.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed Martinez will defend the IBF featherweight title Warrington once owned against the former champion March 26 in Warrington’s hometown of Leeds, England. DAZN and Matchroom Boxing are expected to announce Martinez-Warrington II on Friday as one of eight headliners that the streaming service will offer during the months of February and March.
Martinez-Warrington II will be held at First Direct Arena, where Warrington has drawn capacity crowds several times during his ascent to domestic stardom.
ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger first reported Thursday that the Martinez-Warrington rematch was set for March 26.
Spain’s Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs) will make the first defense of the IBF 126-pound championship he won by stopping another Brit, Kid Galahad, in the sixth round November 13 at Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England, Galahad’s hometown.
Martinez overcame a cut he suffered during the third round to drop Galahad (28-2, 17 KOs) in the fifth round. He went on to knock out Galahad with a right hand in the sixth round.
Warrington will attempt to regain the IBF belt that was stripped from him last year. Warrington (30-1-1, 7 KOs, 1 NC) has suffered back-to-back disappointments against unheralded Mexican Mauricio Lara in his last two bouts.
Lara (23-2-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC) upset Warrington by ninth-round technical knockout February 13 at Wembley Arena in London. Their immediate rematch resulted in a no-contest because Lara suffered a cut over his left eye that prevented him from continuing in the second round.
Lara’s costly cut was caused by an accidental clash of heads September 4 at Headingley Rugby League Stadium in Leeds.
Martinez, 35, and Warrington, 31, first fought in May 2017 at First Direct Arena. Warrington edged Martinez by majority decision in that 12-rounder.
Warrington won that bout by the same score, 116-112, according to judges Robin Dolpierre and Daniel Van de Wiele. Judge John Keane scored Warrington-Martinez a draw, 114-114.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.