Carl Frampton has warned Kiko Martinez he will need to step up his game if he wants to keep his European title after watching the Spaniard record a six round win on Saturday night in Belfast.
The pair battle for Martinez’s Euro strap and Frampton’s IBF inter-continental belt at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on September 22 live on Sky Sports in ‘Judgement Night’, and Frampton was ringside as Martinez outpointed Dougie Curran in the Emerald Roadhouse in his first fight since March.
Unbeaten hometown star Frampton has admitted the fight is a big step up in his promising career, and the 25 year old believes their battle will be an entertaining affair after his first hand experience at the weekend.
“He started off nicely in the first two rounds but the pace dropped after that,” said Frampton. “His hands were faster than I thought they were from watching him on TV and he threw some nice shots in the first six minutes, but after that it slowed down, which am sure is down to ring rust.
"His team may say he wanted to just get the rounds in but he wanted to get him out of there and he didn’t. He looked aggressive all the time though and that’s why I think it’ll be a great fight as he always looks to come forward.
“Its nine weeks and more until the fight so I am sure he’ll come to the ring fitter than that, if he doesn’t the belt will be staying in Belfast and I’ll be the first man to stop him as I’ll be training like an animal.”
After posing for photos on the apron edge, Frampton was introduced to the crowd and received a warm reception, as did Martinez before the fight began, and Barry McGuigan’s protégé says the fight has grabbed the public’s imagination after being announced on Thursday.
“There’s massive interest in the fight already and tickets are flying out the door,” said Frampton. “People who usually come on to us for a few tickets are after a lot more than normal and I believe that’s because everyone knows it’s going to be a great fight on a huge night for the city. We are still way off from fight night so the buzz is only going to get bigger and I reckon we’ll be sold-out.”
There’s a top class undercard on the night with Paul McCloskey aiming to get back on track after his defeat to DeMarcus Corley in May. Eamonn O’Kane won the Betfair all-Irish Prizefighter on the same bill in Belfast that night and he features on the card, as does former British featherweight champion Martin Lindsay and unbeaten flyweight prospect Jamie Conlan.
Team GB stars Scotty Cardle, Kal Yafai and Martin Ward are also expected to continue their pro education in Belfast.
Tickets are on sale from 2pm from the Odyssey Arena box office on 028 9073 9074 and at www.odysseyarena.com – tickets are priced at £30, £40, £60 and £100.
Ringside VIPs tickets are exclusively available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com.