Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Carl Frampton and Kiko Martinez to go head-to-head again

Carl Frampton knocked out Kiko Martinez when the pair fought last February in Belfast
Carl Frampton knocked out Kiko Martinez when the pair fought last February in Belfast
Carl Frampton knocked out Kiko Martinez when the pair fought last February in Belfast

Carl Frampton looks set to finally get his chance to become World champion when he clashes with bitter rival Kiko Martinez for the Spaniard's IBF super-bantamweight title on September 6 in Belfast.

Martinez, stopped by Frampton in a European title fight in February last year, revealed on his Facebook page that he has agreed to face the Jackal in a rematch of their pulsating encounter at the Odyssey Arena.

"I want to prove that defeat was just a bad day," said Martinez, who following defeat to Frampton went on to win the IBF title and make two successful defences of his belt – most recently over Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan last month.

Now it seems the Spanish bull is aiming for revenge against the Jackal and has no doubt that Frampton's fans will be left disappointed when they come head-to-head for a second time.

"Losing to Frampton made me a better fighter and a better person. I'm glad I lost that fight because I learned a lot. I then worked harder and won the world title. I can still get even better," said Martinez.

Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan – unavailable for comment last night – had also been in negotiations for the Belfast man to fight WBC super-bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. Frampton had become the WBC's number one contender on the back of his second round knock-out of Mexican Hugo Cazares last month in the Odyssey.

It is understood that Santa Cruz is being pursued by Frampton's domestic rival Scott Quigg's promoter Eddie Hearn for a mouthwatering September battle, either in America or Manchester.

Martinez had been offered a great deal by McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions company back in December for a showdown in Belfast but instead chose to defend in Japan and so Frampton turned his attention to the WBC route and a battle with Santa Cruz.

As the number one contender for the WBC title and with great interest from American television company Showtime, it seemed that a clash with Santa Cruz was inevitable as McGuigan rightly described it as "the most exciting fight in the super-bantamweight division".

But when it seemed the Santa Cruz route started to close up, Cyclone Promotions turned their attention once more to Martinez.

So, it would appear that an improved offer has managed to tempt Martinez back to Belfast for what should be another blockbuster battle and the Spaniard clearly sees victory as the springboard to a showdown with other big names in the super-bantamweight division, such as WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.

"I would like to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux, that's a fight that will happen in time. He has been on the canvas a couple of times and I think myself or the other champions can beat him," added Martinez.

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