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Kiko Martinez snubs Carl Martinez as he eyes Japan

By David Kelly

Carl Frampton's world title hopes are on hold as IBF champion Kiko Martinez is now heading to Japan to make a voluntary defence of his belt.

Frampton's promoter Barry McGuigan had made the Spaniard a lucrative offer to face the Jackal in a rematch of their clash last year at the Odyssey when Martinez was stopped in the ninth round.

But Martinez is now going to Japan to face former featherweight and bantamweight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa in April.

Martinez's manager Miguel Angel de Pablos says that Martinez will fight the Belfast man but only once he becomes the mandatory challenger and is consequently forced into a rematch.

Frampton said: "Even when we made the offer to Kiko I deep down knew he wouldn't go for it because he just doesn't want to fight me. The offer we made was amazing, more than he had ever had before. Now I just have to focus on a big fight in Belfast, probably in March."

Meanwhile, former IBF middleweight world champion Darren Barker has retired following a long battle with injuries.

The Londoner has decided to hang up his gloves after a long-standing hip problem flared up.

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