Carl Frampton captured the IBF super bantamweight title by defeating defending champion Kiko Martinez by 12-round unanimous decision at a rocking Titanic Quarter in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The scores were 119-108 (twice) and 118-111.
Maxboxing and Doghouse boxing had Frampton winning 119-108.
Frampton, 27, who grew up less than mile away from the temporary outdoor arena, boxed smartly in the opening rounds. Martinez, 28, of Spain, stalked Frampton, but missed more punches than he landed. Frampton, to the delight of his hometown fans, stung Martinez with combinations, but the determined defending champion wasn’t ready to fold.
In round four, Martinez landed a good body shot, but Frampton continued to be the quicker and more effective fighter. Martinez was bleeding from a cut over his left eye.
Frampton (19-0, 13 KOs) floored Martinez (31-5, 23 KOs) in round five with a stinging right over a lazy left. Martinez, who was stopped by a similar blow from Frampton 16 months ago, got up quickly. He was battling, but Frampton had set the table by jabbing and coming over the top with sharp blows. His movement kept Martinez off balance and a step behind.
Martinez knew he needed to rally. He landed a good left hook in round seven. Frampton worked behind his jab. His edge in speed was the difference. Martinez was finally able to force Frampton to the ropes and land more than one punch.
Frampton strafed Martinez with multiple shots, but the Spaniard had edged a little closer. He walked Frampton down and connected to the midsection.
But Frampton was still the busier boxer. He stepped around Martinez and clipped him with a lead right in round nine.
Martinez continued to search for a fight changing punch. His body work had slowed Frampton down. He let his hands go in round 10. The Belfast hero blocked most of the shots and fired back.
By the end of the stanza he was back in a control.
Frampton staggered Martinez in round 11. He unloaded punch after punch. The brave Martinez pushed forward, but by the end of the round he looked like a beaten fighter.
Martinez ate more hard shots in the final round. He wobbled, but wouldn’t go down. Frampton punctuated his impressive victory by landing another lightening quick combination at the bell.
“I want to thank everyone who ever helped me along the way,” said the new champion. “I respect Kiko Martinez. He’s a tough fighter.”