Josh Warrington grew to become a two-time world champion after stopping Spain’s Kiko Martinez in spherical seven in Leeds to regain the IBF featherweight title.
Warrington, 31, reclaimed the identical IBF crown he misplaced 14 months in the past in thrilling trend, blitzing a troublesome and sturdy defending champion to the delight of a partisan, sell-out crowd on the First Direct Enviornment.
Martinez, who someway survived a first-round knockdown and was badly lower above his left eye, got here beneath a barrage of heavy punches within the seventh and the referee stopped the competition two minutes and 12 seconds into the spherical.
Warrington proved his critics unsuitable with a whirlwind show in entrance of his raucous military of followers, catapulting again to the highest of his weight division and placing a wretched 2021 behind him in fashion.
‘The Leeds Warrior’ launched a ferocious assault on Martinez from the opening bell. A vicious proper hook landed flush on Martinez’s chin and despatched him to the canvas. He rose to his toes after a rely of eight earlier than a lower opened up above his left eye, near his nostril.
The defending champion got here beneath critical strain within the second spherical because the Leeds crowd roared Warrington on to what they hoped could be an early victory.
However Martinez proved he’s as robust as a walnut. He weathered the storm and appeared to get again within the combat as Warrington eased off the pedal.
Warrington had his opponent on the ropes once more within the fourth spherical and a collection of pumping rights within the fifth cranked the world again as much as full quantity.
Martinez was gradual to come back out for the sixth as his lower eye was tended to and ended the spherical nodding in appreciation after being caught by one other ramrod proper on the finish of it.
Warrington sensed it was his time and hurled himself on the Spaniard at first of the seventh, trapping him on the ropes and pummelling him to a standstill earlier than the referee stepped in to finish the combat.
The Yorkshireman bounced again from his first profession defeat and a technical attract his earlier two fights, each towards fast-emerging Mexican Mauricio Lara.
Warrington had dropped down his weight division’s pecking order, however after seeing off Martinez for a second time – he beat him on factors on the similar venue in 2017 – he has recaptured the IBF belt and now has even greater prizes in his sights.
An all-British showdown towards Nottingham’s Leigh Wooden at Elland Highway or the Metropolis Floor has been mooted, as have States-side unification fights towards WBC champion Mark Magsayo or WBO belt-holder Emanuel Navarrete.
Earlier on the undercard, Ebanie Bridges gained the IBF bantamweight title on the second try after beating Argentina’s Maria Cecilia Roman on factors.
Bridges, ‘The Blonde Bomber’, gained an exhilarating contest with all three judges scoring in her favour – 100-91, 97-93, 97-93 – after she refused to take a backward step.
Doncaster’s Maxi Hughes retained his IBO light-weight title with a unanimous factors win towards Rochdale’s Ryan Walsh.