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Tale of the tape: Carl Frampton v Kiko Martinez

Boxing correspondent David Kelly goes toe to toe with all the big battles that will decide the champion.

What Carl has to do

This is quite clearly the biggest stage and the biggest fight of his life so primarily Carl must make sure that nothing is allowed to disturb his focus as he counts down to the opening bell against IBF World champion Kiko Martinez.

I expect Carl to be his usual calm self despite the great expectations of 16,000 fans at Titanic Quarter and once the bell rings he needs to immediately show the champion that he is in for a very hard night.

To win the IBF World title, Carl must mix his sharp boxing from distance with sharp work at close range.

Carl has improved his effectiveness at close quarters but also his footwork in recent fights has gone to another level and he must utilise his ability to create angles and space to unload his heavy blows.

Should he take the centre of the ring and dominate with his jab, while also slipping inside the hooks of Kiko to punish the Spaniard to the body, then the title will be his.

What Kiko has to do

The last time they met Kiko admitted he was intimidated by the Belfast crowd in the Odyssey Arena and his team will have been working hard to make sure the Spaniard can hold his nerve in front of twice that amount of people at Titanic Quarter.

Kiko must start quickly and seek to back up the challenger from the opening bell, to try and make sure Carl cannot settle into his smart boxing.

The Spaniard is known as a heavy hitter and loves to just walk down an opponent, backing him up and unloading at close quarters and if he can draw Carl into a slugfest then he will feel he has the edge.

His heavy hooks have stopped three world champions in his last three fights but none have had the freshness and/or ability of Carl.

Kiko must be prepared to give and take heavy shots and with Carl having knocked him out in their previous clash, he needs to make himself less of a target – which is easier said than done against someone of the Jackal's class.

The man in the middle - Steve Gray (Fleetwood, England)

The experienced official refereed Frampton's debut win over Hungarian Sandor Szinavel on June 6 2009. Now he referees his first World title fight having been a judge for numerous big bouts.

Belfast Telegraph


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