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February 05, 2022 5 min read


Josh Warrington is set to go head to head once again against ‘The Sensation” Kiko Martinez on March 26th at the First Direct Arena, Leeds.  The Spaniard is currently the IBF Featherweight Champion of the World after he secured a TKO victory over the promising Kid Gallahad recently in November. As for the 'Leeds Warrior', this will be a great opportunity for him to reclaim his IBF Gold after a run of disappointing back-to-back results. The duo have previously crossed paths in May 2017, Warrington won via Majority decision after the fight went the full distance. Many experts believed that the win handed to Warrington was a steal however this time the Brit has an opportunity to prove those doubters wrong. The Leeds Warrior is in contention to become a two-time IBF Featherweight Champion of the World.


Josh Warrington in action against Kiko Martinez in their first bout at First Direct Arena, Leeds. (May 2017)


Kiko Martinez started the year with his bout scheduled against Zelfa Barret on February 13th for the IBF Inter-Continental Junior Lightweight Title. Martinez, a seasoned pressure fighter, had one of his most tireless performances to date to neutralize Barrett's power threat. Barrett also performed well and looked to counter Martinez's power shots, especially in the later rounds. The majority of the audience thought that Martinez won the fight comfortably but the victory was awarded to Zelfa via unanimous decision and he retained his title. After the bout, Martinez was furious with the judge's decision.

In September Kiko Martinez faced Jayro Duran in Barcelona. Martinez dominated the fight and claimed a comfortable victory over his opponent via a unanimous decision.

Martinez screams in joy after becoming the IBF Featherweight Champion


Martinez faced Kid Gallahad on November 13th in Sheffield. Kid Gallahad went into the fight as the IBF Featherweight Champion after he defeated Jazza Dickens earlier in August 2021.


Kid Gallahad was a heavy favorite. He said before the fight he would 'beat up' Kiko Martinez and he was backing up his words during the fight. For the first 4 rounds, Kid Gallahad loaded on Kiko Martinez with a flurry of shots left-right and center. Martinez looked completely worn off and it seemed Kid Gallahad was about to close the show. But the Spaniard came back into the fight with the element of surprise and shocked Gallahad in the 5th round after securing a knockdown. In the opening seconds of the 6th round, Kiko landed a straight right and knocked Gallahad out thus securing the IBF Featherweight Championship of the world.



At the start of 2021, Josh Warrington decided to vacate his IBF Featherweight belt to pursue other championship fights. The most notable opponent Warrington was after was Can Xu, who then was the WBA Featherweight Champion. Warrington had planned to fight Can in February, but he declined to fight in an empty arena with no fans, placing Warrington in a non-title bout with a relatively unknown Mexican boxer Mauricio Lara.

On February 13th2021Warrington faced Lara at the SSE Arena, London. From starting, Warrington took the center of the ring but Lara was troubling the Leeds warrior with his constant left hooks. In the 4th round, Lara landed on Warrington with some brutal combinations and secured a knockdown. After the 4th round, Warrington never managed to stabilize his shaky legs. Lara dropped the former IBF Featherweight Champion once again in the 9th round and the referee immediately stopped the fight. Lara caused a major upset that no one imagined.


Lara hands Warrington his first career loss in brutal fashion

On July 14, 2021, it was confirmed that Warrington and Lara would meet again on September 4 at Emerald Headingley Stadium in the former's hometown of Leeds.  After Lara was seriously cut above his left eye due to a head clash, the bout finished in a technical draw after two rounds.



The press conference between Josh Warrington and Kiko Martinez for their rematch kicked off on 28th January 2022. Both the fighters had plenty to say about the matchup. After not fighting in 2020 and failing to win the bouts with Lara, the fight with Martinez is the next stage in Warrington's desire to return to the top, and it acts as a redemption narrative.

Meanwhile, Kiko Martinez would be looking for his first defense of the title and try to pile more misery on the Brit's recent results. The champion spoke at the press conference he talked about his confidence ahead of the fight "I've come with the same mentality, to win and win quickly, to surprise the world again. I'm delighted to show that I can reign once again at this level."

Josh Warrington on facing Kiko Martinez again stated “I've said it on social media, it is funny how this sport works. It is mind-blowing at times, this is a massive opportunity for me. “

Martinez and Warrington face off at the Press conference


The Leeds Warrior also talked about his goal to fight in America one day. Warrington said “It's the gamble we took in vacating the belt. I was meant to walk into a big fight but I got chinned and that went out the window. I've been desperate for so long to go over to the states and fight there. I just want to give my fans the opportunity to give their pal the chance to watch me in the states somewhere.”

Kiko Martinez also cleared his intentions, he wants to end the fight early this time deciding out of the judges' hands. He said, "That's the way I need to go, to go out once again to beat him, I think I did last time and now I need to go and do it quickly."



The Leeds Warrior will have redemption on his mind after his recent results, he will look to put on a show in front of the home fans. Having previously gone the distance with Kiko Martinez the Brit will look to take out the Spaniard inside six rounds. Kiko Martinez is now 35 years old and along with that age comes a lot of weaknesses which Warrington will be looking to exploit the slow movement of the veteran Spanish boxer.

Kiko Martinez will be fired up for the rematch as he thought he won the first fight against Warrington, the IBF Featherweight Champion would look for a knockout similar to Kid Gallahad, as he will pick his spots and connect with his vicious right hand. Warrington's weakness in the match against Lara exposed his shortcomings. Martinez will try to test his chin and wobble the Brit.

As far as the betting is concerned, Warrington opens up as a heavy favorite to beat Martinez on March 26th. The Spaniard comes in as the underdog at +340. DAZN will be streaming the event live.

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