Josh Warrington successfully defended his WBC International Featherweight Title, claiming a majority decision victory against Kiko Martinez in front of a rowdy home crowd at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
At the end of the contest, the judges at ringside scored the contest 114-114, and 116-112 twice.
The victory ensured that Warrington remains undefeated, with Martinez going down as his 25th scalp, but he will undoubtedly be disheartened that he was unable to secure a unanimous decision victory.
From the opening stanza, Warrington looked to set the pace using his speed and accurate combinations to build a lead early on.
In the third round, referee, Victor Loughlin, briefly called a halt to proceedings and asked the doctor to inspect a lump which had emerged on the forehead of Martinez. The doctor allowed the contest to proceed and Martinez, perhaps sensing that he needed to up his game, began to work the body of Warrington.
Warrington remained in charge as the fight progressed, edging exchanges and landing clean, effective combinations in every round.
By the midway stage, Warrington took his foot off the gas somewhat, resting upon the healthy lead he had built.
In the eighth Martinez suffered a cut after an accidental clash of heads, however, once again, Martinez offered some of his best work in the face of adversity – matching Warrington’s work-rate in the latter stages.
The boisterous crowd succumbed to a brief moment of silence when the first scorecard of 114-114 was announced, however, the final two scorecards of 116-112 ensured the crowd was quickly cranked back up to full volume.