By Ben Jacobs

On the undercard of the Deontay Wilder vs Dominic Breazeale world heavyweight title fight this Saturday night in New York City, Kiko Martínez makes his own attempt to win another world title, this time when he faces the formidable talent of Gary Russell Jr.

Martínez recently spoke to from his home in Spain where he spent the majority of his training camp and dismissed the idea that Russell’s lack of action in recent years will cost the American dear.

“I think the fact that Russell is still young and hasn’t really had many hard fights means he is in very good shape, despite his loss to Lomachenko,” Kiko said, matter-of-factly. 

“I think he has got better since that fight.  He went on to beat the likes Jhonny González and Joseph Díaz but it’s true that I am much more active.  He probably thinks that I’m going to turn up and only be able to go six or seven good rounds and then I’ll be done.  But I’ve been sparring a lot of southpaw Olympians who have come here to my training camp.  We’ve done a lot of sparring and I’m pleased with the work we have done.  I’ve sparred super featherweights and lightweights and I believe it will count on fight night.”

Having been a world champion and also having suffered setbacks and defeats, one might question why Kiko would want to carry on in a sport which takes no prisoners given that he has achieved so much, particularly coming from Spain which is not renowned for its boxing prowess.

“I still have so much motivation and since I was a young boy, I have dreamt about winning the WBC belt, the green belt,” the Spaniard explained, excitedly.   

“After so much work and sacrifice, I now have a chance to finally win that belt.  Throughout my career I’ve had that objective, to win a WBC belt, no matter how I’ve felt, through the ups and downs.  So that’s what really motivates me, to win it and defend it and that’s my challenge now. 

“The other thing that motivates me is to get up everyday and try to improve myself, try to give a better version of myself every time. 

“I want to fight [Josh] Warrington again, Óscar Váldez, fight [Carl] Frampton again, I want to fight the big names.”