Josh Warrington promised Kiko Martinez as they jawed at one another Friday afternoon that a lot more than three ounces will separate them Saturday night.
Warrington repeatedly yelled, “And the new,” as he and Martinez stood face to face after making weight in Leeds, England, for their 12-round, 126-pound championship rematch at First Direct Arena in Warrington’s hometown. Martinez weighed 125.4 pounds, according to the British Boxing Board of Control’s scale, slightly less than Warrington, who came in at 125.7 pounds.
Spain’s Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs) will make the first defense of the IBF featherweight title he won when he upset another Brit, Kid Galahad, by sixth-round technical knockout November 13 at Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England, Galahad’s hometown.
Martinez overcame a cut he suffered during the third round to send Galahad (28-2, 17 KOs) to the canvas in the fifth round. A right hand by Martinez knocked out the favored Galahad in the sixth round.
Warrington will try 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 (24-2-1, 17 KOs, 1 NC) first upset Warrington by ninth-round technical knockout 13 months ago 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, 36, and Warrington, 31, first fought in May 2017 at First Direct Arena. Warrington edged Martinez by majority decision in that 12-round battle.
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.