Boxing Previews – Warrington v Martinez

Josh Warrington v Kiko Martinez

The Leeds FC fan left Matchroom just before Christmas and has his first fight under the Queensberry Promotions banner this weekend at the First Direct Arena in his home city.

Warrington (24-0) and Martinez (36-7-1) will contest the Yorkshire-man’s WBC International featherweight title over 12-rounds.

On the hunt for a World title fight, Josh has already voiced his plans of not only defeating the Spaniard but doing it in style to send out a message to the rest of the 126lbs division and to earn a shot at the green belt this year, currently held by Gary Russell Jr.

A stylish win over a former IBF World super-bantamweight champion will undoubtedly earn the WBC No.3 comparisons to Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz – all three have defeated Martinez within the last three years.

Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren is convinced he’s found the full package in Warrington and has long-term plans to stage a World title fight at Elland Road for his newest featherweight charge.

I agree that the 26-year-old is an exceptional talent and, although it will be a tough fight for him, he should have no problems with dealing with his 31-year-old counterpart whose best days are behind him.

I predict a points win to Warrington.

Khalid Yafai v Suguru Muranaka

Once again, Sky Sports will be going head-to-head with rivals BT Sport, which can only be a good thing for boxing and its fans.

At the Barclaycard Arena, live on Sky Sports, Birmingham’s Kal Yafai (21-0) defends the WBA super-flyweight belt that he won so effortlessly from former champion Luis Concepcion with a unanimous points win over the experienced Panamanian.

Travelling opponent Suguru Muranaka (25-2-1) has his first fight away from Japan and hasn’t lost since 2006.

The 31-year-old could provide Kal with a stern test but I don’t suspect the pair are actually on the same level.

Muranaka has conquered Japan but not the world, his WBA #10 ranking makes him a legitimate challenger but not one that will realistically cause too many problems for the Brummie.

The classy 27-year-old champion is part of an exciting division, including Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, who recently lost his long unbeaten record in controversial circumstances, and will be hoping to send out a warning to his rivals with a dominant title defence.

I predict a very one-sided points win to Yafai.

Sam Eggington v Ceferino Rodriguez

Eggington’s (20-3) ninth title fight, all starting with winning the Midlands Area strap in just his sixth pro bout, could be his greatest accomplishment of his four-year-long career to date.

Ceferino Rodriguez’s (24-1) European welterweight strap is on the line which he won after he just edged past fellow countryman Ahmed El Mousaoui in Gran Canaria last year.

Eggington’s win in March over former two-weight World champion Paulie Malignaggi helped to set up the shot at ‘Ferino’s’ belt.

The Magic Man has since forged a friendship with the Stourbridge man and has even helped put together the tactical game-plan for his European title fight with Rodriguez, having studied him when they were due to fight before.

‘Savage’ is the challenger here and also the supporting cast to the main event, but I think that he is currently full of confidence and riding high from his previous eighth-round stoppage win over Malignaggi, conquering fellow Brummie Frankie Gavin and notching up three stoppage wins on the spin.

I believe that a confident Eggington could really shine against this Spaniard and send him home strapless. I think he is easy to hit and can be overwhelmed early if Eggington can come out of the blocks fast and sharp.

I predict an early stoppage win to Eggington within the first half of the bout.

Frankie Gavin v Renald Garrido

Former Eggington victim Frankie Gavin (23-3) will have a stern test against tough Frenchman Renald Garrido (18-14-1).

The former French champion’s record may look patchy but when it comes to fighting Team GB boxers in England, he gets himself up for the occasion.

Le Lion came and conquered in Liverpool in 2015 by taking the unbeaten record of Beijing 2008 Olympian Bradley Saunders, who hasn’t fought since.

His tactics of constant pressure and high work-rate wore the Sedgefield star down until he eventually resorted to using his head to try to fend off the unrelenting attacks, ending in disqualification. Post-fight, it was revealed that Saunders had broken both hands early on in the bout.

Garrido clearly saw the quality of his opponent and decided he was going to do all that it takes to defeat an Olympian.

Gavin disappointingly never took part in the Olympics due to weight issues but he does share an achievement with Saunders in that they both won a total of four medals in EU and World Amateur Championships and Commonwealth Games.

Gavin’s loss to Eggington in his last fight was down to lingering on the ropes and taking unnecessary punishment. Instead of turning his opponent, he traded.

Gavin has all the tools to beat Garrido but if he doesn’t adopt the right tactics and the Frenchman does, then there could be an upset on the cards.

Gavin wins this eight-round encounter on points, for me, but well worth considering a cheeky punt on a stoppage win for Garrido.

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