So much for the critics who said Kiko Martinez was not a fit title challenger at age 35 and that last night’s fight against defending IBF featherweight champ Kid Gallahad was a terrible mismatch. Spanish warrior Martinez – who may well go down in history as the greatest Spanish boxer ever – might have pulled off the trio with last night’s sixth round knockout win: KO of the Year, Upset of the Year and Comeback of the Year.
Not too shabby for a 35 year old ring veteran who has been punching at pro level since way back in 2004 and has a 43-10-2(30) pro ledger. Kiko, a former IBF super-bantamweight ruler, is right back on top now courtesy of his come-from-behind ruining of the now 28-2(17) Gallahad of Sheffield.
Proving, amongst other things, that punching power is the last thing a fighter loses, Martinez overcame a wobbly start, a cut eye and he refused to lose heart when he knew he was falling behind on the cards. In the fifth, at the end of the session, Kiko struck with his dangerous right hand. Gallahad suffered a heavy knockdown and he surely would have been finished had the bell not rang as it did. But Kiko did not waste a single second once round six began, instead landing a second right hand bomb in rapid fashion. This time, Gallahad was out, laid out flat on his back. The former champ must not have been able to believe what had happened, how he had lost a fight he had been dominating.
Martinez again showed us all how the sport of boxing really is the theatre of the unexpected (to quote Larry Merchant). So what next for Kiko? Martinez – who has had some career and has been to war with the likes of Carl Frampton x2, Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, Josh Warrington and Gary Russell Jr – can look forward to at least one more well deserved pay day. Maybe there will be a Martinez-Gallahad II?
Last night’s win, scored by an old-school, will fight anyone, anywhere warrior, is one that gave fight fans the feel-good factor. Martinez shoved it to his critics, he shoved it to the odds-makers and, perhaps most satisfyingly for him, Kiko got some major payback for the February fight he had on UK shores, when he was robbed of a deserved win over Zelfa Barrett.
In short, Kiko Martinez got everything that was coming to him last night. What on earth might 2022 have in store for Kiko?