Carl Frampton insists monster fights await him after he defeats IBF super-bantamweight belt holder Kiko Martinez in Belfast tonight. Since Frampton knocked out Martinez in February 2013 the Spaniard defeated Jonatan Romero for the World Super-Bantemeight title and defended his title twice. But the Barry McGuigan trained Belfast fighter says that while the Spaniard is in for the biggest payday of his career, he expects to win and set up bigger fights.
“There are monster fights out there and when I win this fight, after it, they are the ones that set you up for life and give you a certain amount of security. There is a lot riding on this and there is big fights out there for me after Martinez, loads of options but again not taking my eye off the ball. I have this wee man to deal with first. Obviously he is proud and wants to avenge a defeat but he’s getting easily the biggest payday of his career.
“I expect a win and that’s it. I know I have got the power to be able to take him out, not just him, but any super-bantemweight in the world. If I hit them on the chin and hit them clean, I can knock them out. I have prepared for 12 hard rounds. If it doesn’t go 12 rounds, then happy days. It’s always good to get a knock out.”
Martinez has stated that all he has thought about since his defeat to Frampton was avenging it. But Frampton rubbished those claims, saying that he had offered Martinez a fight before the last defence of his title in Japan against Hozumi Hasegawa, but La Sensación opted for a “winnable” fight.
Martinez chose winnable fight over Frampton
“He said in the press he wanted to fight me straight away. But we offered him a big payday before he went to Japan, more than he got for going to Japan but he saw the Japanese guy as a winnable fight and took that option.
“I’m confident in my own ability. I’m not overlooking this guy, that’s for sure. I’m conident. I know, me at my best against him at his best, I will win every day. I have full belief in myself as long as I remain calm, as long as I stay smart I will win the fight.”
Frampton feels Martinez hasn’t brought anything new in the four fights since he knocked him out, but added he doesn’t like watching his knockout fight because he made mistakes he needs to rectify. Rectifying those mistakes is the key to having an easier fight than the one which ended after nine rounds and the World Champion belt is one that will make the win even more special.
“He’s the same. Maybe he’s a bit more refined, but it’s the same. I think it’s his 36th fight but every single one of them fights he’s been head first. That is the way it’s going to be again. He’s coming here thinking he’s going to have to beat me up. He’s going to try and knock me out, but I have dealt with it once and I’ll be able to do it again. I made mistakes in the last fight.
Pressure on Frampton
“I won the fight well but I made a lot of mistakes and if I rectify them, potentially it could be an easier night than the first one. The first time I fought him was for a European title. This is now for a world title. They’ve built a temporary stadium for me to box in. The pressure is all on me. He’s coming here with no pressure. He has won a world title and defended it a couple of times. If you had looked back at Kiko Martinez’s career three or four years ago, if you would have thought he was going to be a World Champion, you would have said no. I’m sure he is pretty happy with his career. The pressure is all on me. That is where I perform best.”
And the pressure is on. The WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz sees Frampton as favourite. The bookies have Frampton as favourite and as he says, a 16,000 stadium has been built for him. He has had a 14-week camp in London and every session on the pads, bag and sparring, he’s had Martinez on his mind, but he feels the decision in having Lee Selby as a sparring partner could see the Spaniard in for a shock.
“It was a tough fight the first time and it took a lot of balls and I had to dig deep, but I done that and I am going to be able to do it again but it’s not going to be easy. Everyone has been suited around Kiko Martinez. Everyone we have got in, we are trying to get short stocky guys, obviously a bit heavier than Kiko to make me work a bit harder. He is a dangerous puncher and I felt the full force of his shots and I believe I’ve got a good chin, but saying that you don’t want people to hit it too often.
“Barry (McGuigan) is in every sparring partners ears because they are all being paid to do a job. If they don’t do what they are told, they don’t come back. They were all told to come forward because that is what we are expecting Kiko to do. He has been sparring Selby. Selby is a very good fighter but he’s 5′ 8” and nice rangy boxer. Maybe that is what Kiko is expecting, me to go on the back foot but he could be in for a shock.”
From Messer to World Champion
That shock that he is to inflict on Martinez is a far cry from his days on the South-Circular road, training in the national stadium. Although he had the talent as an amateur, he admits to never having trained as he should have. But that was back in his younger days. Now a more focused Frampton has set his goals set high. He plans to go up to feathereight or super-featherweight. He has the power. On Saturday night, this power will be directed on becoming a World Champion.
“It’s hard you are around a bunch of lads training and although it’s an individual sport, everyone likes to mess around. I was easily led. I wasn’t training how I should have been as an amateur. Back then I knew I could have done something but once I got out of that set up, and put myself in London, I just lock myself away, I train hard. I’m a much different person now than I was back then.
“It is a wee bit of a regret (that I didn’t work harder) but I’m where I am at the minute. Things happen for a reason. I’m very happy with how my career has gone so far. I always wanted to be a professional World Champion so I’ll take a professional world title over an Olympic medal. I’m not slating an Olympic medal. It’s a hell of an achievement and something I would have loved to have done but a world title for me makes more sense.”