KIKO Martinez has significant Irish previous and is well know on these shores.
He upset Dublin fight fans back in 2008 before four more fights in Ireland over the years began to soften Irish hearts for the Spaniard. However, once he signed to fight Carl Frampton he became public enemy number one again, especially when he twice pulled out of ‘Jackal’ fights before the Belfast puncher finally stopped him last February.
Martinez enters an Irish ring for the sixth time in his career this coming Saturday night and Belfast fight fans will boo their all too familiar panto villain once more.
BoxNation, who broadcast this weekends fight card, however, have published a list of things you need to know about the reigning IBF super bantamweight world champion.
1) He is managed by former world middleweight champions Sergio Martinez and has the same trainer as the Argentine superstar Gabriel Sarmiento.
2) Martinez is co-promoted by American Gary Shaw and Uruguayan born Sampson Lewkowicz.
3) When he defends his IBF super-bantamweight title against Belfast’s favourite fighting son on Saturday, Kiko will be bidding for fifth straight KO win since losing the first encounter against Frampton in February 2013, pictured below.
4) The Spaniard was born in Alicante near Brit loved holiday resort Benidorm and still lives in the region. He has lived all his life in Torrellano where just 7,000 people reside.
5) With little money in Spanish boxing, Martinez has to fight overseas. In his last eight fights just two have been on home soil having boxed in Argentina, France, Ireland (twice in Belfast), Japan and US.
6) It was way back in June 2004 when he turned professional stopping David Casero in three rounds.
7) His knockout win over Colombian Jhonatan Romero to become IBF 122lb champion almost in August 2013 was one of biggest upsets of the year, pictured below.
8) Kiko claims to have won all 40 amateur bouts with 38 of those wins coming inside the distance.
9) Back in 2007 he had been due to face another Belfast fighter Wayne McCullough at the Kings Hall, but Martinez was 1.75lb overweight, wouldn’t shed the excess and the fight was scrapped hours before the first bell.
10) He took up boxing at 13 and at the age of 16 gave up on his dream of playing in La Liga to concentrate on the sport he’d fallen in love with.