by Lem Satterfield


Kiko Martinez knows that he is considered little more than a steppingstone for WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz when they meet in a 12-round title bout at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Feb. 27. Particularly given the three losses Martinez absorbed against Frampton and Quigg at 122-pounds. But it hasn’t done anything to drain him of his confidence heading into the match, which will air on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET.

Martinez lost twice to Frampton, getting stopped on a ninth round TKO in 2013 and losing a unanimous decision in 2014. Quigg knocked out Martinez, after knocking him down twice, in 2015.

“Some people don’t think I can fight because I lost to those guys,” says Martinez, whose current three-fight winning streak includes two knockouts. “But they are wrong. I am as determined as ever. I’m going to fight a great fight and come out with a victory. I will surprise people who don’t believe me.”

“I am working so hard for this fight. People doubting me has me even more motivated. They will see on Feb. 27, and everyone will change their minds…I’m coming forward and throwing punches and I don’t give up.”


IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) will go into hostile territory for his first defense, taking on hammer-fisted Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) is coming off last month’s third-round TKO victory over Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-1-1, 13 KOs), becoming only the sixth southpaw—and third American lefty—to win a heavyweight crown. Martin brought 12 straight knockouts into his fight with Glazkov, and only gone past the fourth round once - a 10th-round KO of Raphael Zumbano Love in February

“I don’t care how many people are cheering his name, it will just be another day at the office for me. I’ve been an underdog all my life. They said the same thing about the last fight,” said Martin.

“People are criticizing me for the way the fight ended. I wanted to knock him out, but he hurt his leg, which isn’t my fault. But I’m not getting caught up in the hype. I saw his last fight, they matched up well, but they’re not as mobile as I am, so when he’s in the ring with me, it’s going to be a lot different.”

Paulie Malignaggi, the former welterweight champion and Showtime commentator, was ringside for Joshua’s recent KO victory over Dylan Whyte and Martin’s win against Glazkov. He thinks Martin-Joshua is an intriguing match.

“This is a step up for both guys, and I’m definitely curious about seeing Joshua up against an athletic big man in Martin,” Malignaggi said “It’ll give us a deeper look into how many layers Joshua has to his style. Whyte’s jab caused some issues for Joshua, and Martin being a southpaw, his jab will come from a different angle and Martin has a snappy jab.”


Lem Satterfield is a writer for Premier Boxing Champions. Re-use of any or all of this material must contain proper attribution that reflects that.