Carl Frampton stops Kiko Martinez to claim European title

Frampton wins European title and becomes first man to stop Martinez with dominant win

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

23:44 GMT, 9 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:13 GMT, 10 February 2013

Carl Frampton sent out a chilling message to the super bantamweight division by becoming the first man to stop Kiko Martinez and rip the European title from the stunned Spaniard in Belfast.

Frampton, 25, had twice seen a meeting with the champion postponed when Martinez pulled out and had promised to make his adversary pay the ultimate price.

And he did just that, knocking the 26-year-old out with a bludgeoning right hand in the ninth round.
Martinez is no stranger to Ireland having stunned Bernard Dunne inside one round in Dublin six years ago and he had promised to silence the fervent home crowd once again.

Champion: Carl Frampton stopped Kiko Martinez in the ninth round to claim the European title

Champion: Carl Frampton stopped Kiko Martinez in the ninth round to claim the European title

Frampton meanwhile delivered a
career-best performance in September when disposing of two-time world
champion Steve Molitor in six rounds.

But the Canadian was clearly past his
best on that occasion and Martinez, who shares a trainer with world
middleweight champion and namesake Sergio, was expected to pose an
altogether tougher test.

And so it proved as he went in search
of his younger opponent in a cagey first round. Frampton, content to
box on the back foot, landed the first meaningful punch with a solid
left hook to the body.

Martinez was quick out of the blocks
in the second stanza, forcing the home favourite back on to the ropes.
While Frampton stuck to the game plan for the most part, boxing at range
and picking his punches; when he did engage at close quarters, he was
given a sharp reminder of the visitor's knockout power.

Team: Frampton celebrates with his manager Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan

Team: Frampton celebrates with his manager Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan

Frampton picked up the pace in the
subsequent round, delivering impressive combinations before withdrawing
to the outskirts of the ring.

By the middle of the fourth session, a
bad cut had opened up under Martinez's left eye and Frampton
immediately set to work with his right hand. But the Spaniard remained
dangerous, landing a solid left jab, perhaps sensing that his days were
numbered, only to be pinned against the ropes as Frampton sensed the
finish.

Although Martinez continued to stalk
his prey in the fifth, Frampton was proving more and more elusive,
slipping and sliding out of range as he moved further ahead on the
scorecards. A quieter sixth round followed but Frampton upped the pace
again as the fight entered its second half.

Martinez, whose cut opened again, was more reluctant to come forward and the Belfast favourite landed several plum shots.

Finally: Frampton had twice seen his meeting with the Spaniard postponed

Finally: Frampton had twice seen his meeting with the Spaniard postponed

Frampton was drawn into a toe-to-toe
brawl at the start of the eighth round but slipped on to the back foot
as the session progressed, allowing him to pick his shots with unerring
accuracy.

Martinez had shown exactly why he had
always heard the final bell when he shipped several huge shots at the
start of the ninth but his resistance proved futile when a huge straight
right left him floundering on the canvas.

The Spaniard rose unsteadily but
after staggering back towards his corner, the referee waved the fight
off. Frampton, who was ahead on all three scorecards by four rounds
(twice) and two rounds on the third, extends his unbeaten record to 16
professional contests.

Frampton, who will likely return to
Belfast on May 11, potentially in a final eliminator for the IBF world
title, said: 'I can't remember much about the [knockout] punch. It was a
decent shot.

'I proved I've got a good chin. I
could feel his power but he didn't hurt me. He didn't make my legs
wobble but you can see from face that he hits hard.

'He's not been wobbled before but I
took him out. The plan was to box from the outside but when we traded, I
felt I got the better of him.

'I want to be a world champion. I
feel the buzz and its getting better. The best man won on the night but
he's a tough man. I was hitting him and he was coming back.'