Kiko Martinez keeps cool as Carl Frampton talks up another knockout exhibition
A defiant Carl Frampton has vowed to deliver for his fans tomorrow night and become the new IBF World super-bantamweight champion.
While champion Kiko Martinez worked very hard at showing little emotion at yesterday's final press conference ahead of the fight at Titanic Quarter, even continuing to wear his dark shades, Frampton made it clear to the Spaniard that he would once again be leaving Belfast an unhappy man.
Martinez is determined to take his revenge but, unlike in the build-up to their first duel, the IBF champion was determined to keep his emotions in check – though whether that will be the case at today's weigh-in at the Ulster Hall (12pm) or in tomorrow night's mouthwatering battle before a crowd of 16,000 remains to be seen.
Short answers from the champion were the order of the day and when asked if he would suffer any flashbacks to that February night when he was knocked out by the Belfast man, Martinez did his best to sidestep the issue. "No, for me the last fight was a learning experience. Sometimes God takes something away from you to give you something and he gave me the world title."
Maybe he was just keeping all his fire and passion for the ring, or possibly the reality of facing a man who can hurt him – unlike his four previous opponents – is starting to break through the mental defences his team are quick to assure everyone are stronger than ever.
Frampton's demeanour was one of a man who can sense destiny calling, beckoning him to join an elite group of Northern Ireland boxers who have landed a major World title.
"Kiko's a very proud man, he's coming in saying he is confident but I have dealt with him and the first time was not a great performance from me. I'm a much better fighter than before and whatever he brings to the table, I'm going to be able to deal with it," said Frampton.
"I have sparred over 200 rounds, I'm in the best shape of my life, it's the easiest I've ever made the weight and this IBF belt is staying in Belfast.
"Kiko makes a lot of the fact he perforated my ear drum in the first fight but it's got nothing to do with power. The specialist I went to said it could happen with your ma giving you a clip on the ear.
"And the first time it happened was when I was 15 and Ryan Burnett did it and he was about 10. It just just happens in boxing.
"I believe you're going to get the same result as the last fight... it's going to be a very tough fight, his team are confident but my team are even more confident.
"He has probably improved a bit but in all his fights he has come forward, aggressive, he tries to knock people out – that's his style.
"I know I'm the much better fighter, I'm stronger and I'm more comfortable at the weight."
Frampton's young, confident coach Shane McGuigan – son of the Jackal's manager Barry – shares the same view as his charge.
"I think the fight will be exactly the same as the last fight, he is what he is – a hard puncher who fights at a hard pace. He said he had a bad night the last time but I don't see how that is the case because looking at his fights, that was one of his best fights. It was just the case that Carl is a better fighter than him so that's why I think it'll be the same result."
While winning the World title will be special in itself, Frampton is also relishing the opportunity of becoming champion in front his family and particularly daughter Carla, who will be at ringside for the first time.
He added: "This'll be the first fight she's been at. I've envisioned getting her into the ring after the fight and lifting her onto my shoulders and having photographs taken with her. That's going to be something to cherish forever.
"I'm also very honoured and humbled that so many people are coming out to support me. They know boxing here and they believe in me.
"It's easy to forget I'm he challenger and to be selling out 16,000 seats as challenger is just amazing – so what's it going to be like when I'm world champion?"
Thats what we all want to find out, Carl...