It seems the unique Martinez Irish story may have one more huge chapter with NoSmokeBoxing reporting the former world champion has been made mandatory challenger for the IBF featherweight world title, a strap currently held by Luis Alberto Lopez, who dethroned Josh Warrington in Leeds on December 10.
The Top Rank feather is allowed a voluntary defence before he has to face the Spaniard and it’s believed that will come in March against Belfast’s Conlan.
Top Rank and Conlan Boxing have both confirmed talks between the respective teams have begun. In fact, talk in Irish boxing circles indicates a deal has been done and it’s just to be decided if the fight will take place in New York or Belfast on St Patrick’s Day.
If what would prove to be a huge fight does take place and Olympic medal winner Conlan secures victory and thus the title, the Olympic medal winner would inherit Spain’s greatest ever boxer as his mandatory.
Gone in 135 seconds.— Irish-Boxing.com (@Irishboxingcom) December 11, 2022
Michael Conlan blasts out Karim Guerfi at the SSE Arena last night.
Thanks to Top Rank for the footage. pic.twitter.com/NFxKw1Hq6e
If Ireland’s only male World Championship gold medal winner does put his name on the list of Irish world pro champions in March his first defence will most likely be in Belfast this summer’s Fiele.
With ‘‘La Sensacion’’ his mandatory it’s likely ‘Mini Tyson’ would man the away corner and be his challenger, meaning a return to Ireland for the 36-year-old.
It would be a massive fight and in terms of Ireland, possibly the biggest defence the extremely popular Conlan could have.
The Spaniard is often labelled Ireland’s favourite away fighter and when not fighting Irish opposition has the full support of the Irish fight fraternity.
Martinez’s relationship with the country dates back as far as 2007, the Alicante beat Bernard Dunne and turned a raucous Point into a mourge in just 86 seconds to claim the European title live on RTE.
The two-weight European champ fought non-Irish opposition at the National Stadium over the next few years, was due to fight Wayne McCullough and at one stage Willie ‘Big Bang’ Casey.
The former world champion was also the conduit Frampton ran through to become a star name, losing both his European title and IBF world titles to ‘The Jackal’ at different stages.
It seems there could be one final chapter to the sensational La Sensacion Irish story, if things fall into place he could have shared the ring with three of Ireland’s greatest-ever fighters – Dunne, Frampton and Conlan – in major title fights.