By Charles Brun: IBF featherweight champion Kiko Martinez weighed in at 125.4 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in for his title defense against #6 WBC contender Josh Warrington for their rematch this Saturday, March 26th at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, UK.
Warrington weighed in at 125.7 lbs. This is a fight in which both guys could be retiring if they lose.
Martinez feels that he must knockout Warrington to win, as the last time he fought him in Leeds in 2017, he lost a questionable 12 round decision. A lot of boxing fans thought Martinez should’ve won, and he felt that he was robbed by the judges.
The 36-year-old Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs) has already made it known that he’ll retire if he gets beaten by the 31-year-old Warrington. As far as Warrington goes, he chooses to fight on if things go badly for him, for all intents and purposes, his career as a world-level fighter will be over.
Warrington hasn’t won a fight in three years since 2019. Let that sink for a second. Three years.
He probably would have lost his last fight against Mauricio Lara if the contest hadn’t been halted due to cuts the Mexican puncher sustained due to Warrington lowering his head and charging forward.
The fight ended up being ruled by a two-round technical draw, but it appeared Lara, a fringe contender, landed far better shots in both rounds.
If Warrington does opt to continue fighting after losing to Kiko, it’ll be interesting to see who his promoter Eddie Hearn can match him against to end his three-year winless drought.
When a fighter hasn’t won a contest in three years, that tells you something. He’s either shot or fighting guys that are above his paygrade.
In Warrington’s case, I think it’s a little of both. He would have lost to Lara at any point in his career, even during the best of times.
Kiko Martinez to retire if he loses
With ten defeats on his resume, Kiko isn’t going to go too much further before getting beaten again.
Even if he beats Warrington, he’s going to have it tough trying to get past WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion Leigh Wood, and he would stand no chance of beating WBO champion Emmanuel Navarrete. That guy is the best right now at 126 in this writer’s opinion.
“Yes, this is my future and that of my family,” said Kiko Martinez to Matchroom Boxing when asked what this fight with Warrington means to him. “This is what I’ve fought for my entire life. I’ve fought constantly, so this is the reality of my life.
“This is my daily battle and my obsession. It feels good because I was right. I was right in saying I could do it,” said Kiko on what he was feeling after he stopped Kid Galahad in the sixth round to become the IBF featherweight champion.
“I could achieve it and I was going to do it. I feel like it’s something everyone needs to see. That by simply fighting and having an obsession, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
“Yes, it was hugely emotional because coming to the UK, becoming world champion against Kid Galahad, who’s a fantastic boxer, a wonderful champion who is feared across the entire featherweight division, showing people that they’d got it wrong and I was right , it was truly wonderful for me.
“Of course, it wouldn’t be at all positive for me to go back home without the belt,” Martinez said about the importance of him beating Warrington to retain his IBF 126-lb title on Saturday night in Leeds.
“I think all that I have fought for has to have an ending, and that ending is me still being world champion on Saturday night. Yes, the reason for carrying on is because I still feel I can do it.
“I’m convinced that I can still keep making history, that I can make my history even greater today. I promised my wife and my daughters that the day I lose, I’ll retire from boxing.
“They are paying a high price, more than me because they don’t love this whereas, I do. So, I promised them when I lose, I’d retire from boxing.
“At the moment, I’d have one more fight to bring the curtain down on my career,” Martinez said about him hanging up his gloves if he loses to Warrington.
Warrington could retire as well
“I think he’s in the same position as me. He’s at an endpoint,” said Kiko when asked if he thinks Warrington will retire if he loses. “Perhaps, I’m having one more fight to bid farewell to boxing or to bring it to an end on defeat,” said Martinez.
Warrington SHOULD retire if he loses to Kiko on Saturday, but I don’t think he will. He can still make money fighting in front of big crowds in Leeds, and his promoter Eddie Hearn will continue to match him against different guys.
A trilogy match against Mauricio Lara would be an obvious choice for Warrington if he loses to Kiko.
This time, though, Warrington is going to have to resist lowering his head and charging forward because the fight will end up being stopped on cuts, and the Leeds fans will see Josh as trying to get out of the contest the easy way. Last time, it didn’t even look like Warrington was trying to win.
“You become a slave to hard work and obsession,” said Martinez. “So, I think we’re both at a key moment where we can carry on our call it a day. Obviously, I’m not with him, and I can’t imagine how he’s feeling. Only he can feel that.
“We prepared for a career-best Warrington because it would be a mistake not to. Obviously, he knows whether he feels fear or motivation. I have to expect the best Warrington of his career.
“Josh Warrington has beaten Selby, Frampton, Galahad,” said Kiko when asked if Warrington deserves a title shot against him. “He’s had a wonderful career. Why wouldn’t Josh Warrington deserve a world title shot?
“That’s the reality. It was an accidental clash of heads between him and Mauricio Lara, so, of course, he deserves it. He’s a fantastic [former] champion,” said Kiko about Warrington’s head-butt fouled rematch with Mauricio Lara last September.
Martinez believes he needs a knockout
“I’ll go out to fight. There’s obviously no margin of error for me here fighting in his backyard,” said Kiko when asked how he must fight to beat Warrington on Saturday.
“The last time I fought here [in Leeds]it was a robbery [in 2017]. It was a robbery from the promoter [too]. He [Warrington] ran. It was all very negative for me. So, I have to go out and win my fight within the distance.
“I’ve got 12 rounds, not just 2, 3, or 4, but I need to end it within the distance. I really hope that Josh Warrington shows that he still wants to be a world champion, that he comes to fight, throws shots, and he believes in himself like before.
“I think I’ll get a Warrington that wants to be a world champion, not one that wants to win the fight thanks to the judges. I’m so excited. I get chills whenever I think about it,” Kiko said about what it’ll be like for him to be fighting Warrington in front of a large crowd on Saturday night at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
“Having 15 thousand against me, screaming at me, all against me. If that doesn’t motivate me, nothing in life will. I’ll shut up 15,000 by the third round. Everyone will be silent, you’ll just hear groans while they hope he survives.
“I’m going out to win the fight. It’s just me and Warrington in the ring, nobody else. So let them boo all they want on the night because I’m going to shut up and remain world champion.
“Yes, obviously I have to,” said Martinez when asked if he can replicate the kind of finish against Warrington that he had against Kid Galahad. “I have no margin for erroras I’ve said.
“I need to go out and win my fight emphatically without leaving anything to chance and I have to finish it in the same way I did with Galahad because if I don’t, I’m heading back to Spain without the belt,” he said. Martinez.
Unfortunately, Kiko might be right about him needing a knockout to win the fight because it’s difficult seeing him being given a decision against Warrington with him fighting on his home turf in Leeds.
Kiko wants Leigh Wood unification fight
“Obviously, unifying and fighting another world champion is incredible,” said Martinez.
“It’s always wonderful fighting in the UK, but fighting another world champion will mean history in terms of my life when I’m remembered,” said Kiko when asked if he’d be interested in fighting WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood.
“It will be lovely for my family and to be a world champion with two governing bodies will be the best thing to happen to me in my life, in my career.
“Yes, we’ll go to McDonald’s and have 2 or 3 cokes, 2 or 3 menus each, and I’ll finish off with a giant McFlurry to celebrate with all the extras,” said Martinez.