By Craig Page: Kiko Martinez wants a title shot against WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion Leigh Wood next instead of IBF champ Josh Warrington following his fourth round knockout victory over Jordan Gill (27-2, 18 KOs) last Saturday night in London.
The 36-year-old Kiko’s success in the game was limited by Gill making him play against Warrington, who stopped him in the seventh round last March.
Instead of focusing on guaranteed shots against Warrington, Martinez (44-11-2, 31 KOs) prefers to shoot with wood (26-2, 16 KOs).
It makes sense in some ways for Kiko to be looking to fight the 34-year-old Wood as he suffered a serious injury to the much stronger Michael Conlan last March in Nottingham. If it wasn’t for Conlan passing gas, he would have beaten Wood.
The other positive for Martinez fighting Wood is that he won’t need to deal with headaches all night like he did in his recent fight with Warrington. The Leeds native seemed to take the fight from Martinez after they clashed with him early on.
“I want to fight Leigh Wood,” Kiko Martinez said after winning the fourth round match against Jordan Gill last Saturday night at Wembley Stadium.
“I want to beat Leigh Wood to become world champion. I want to go and beat him to become world champion.”
Wood probably won’t give Kiko another WBA 126-lb secondary title because he wants the Leo Santa Cruz fight, which would pay off handsomely.
If Wood wins this fight, he is talking about wanting to defend Mauricio Lara, the fighter he was scheduled to face recently. Wood left the fight, complaining of a bicep injury. The World Boxing Federation said they wanted evidence of the injury.
Lara suspects that Wood is not injured and withdraws from the fight because he does not want to face him.
It will be interesting for Wood if he plays Lara again, but obviously, that will depend on whether he wins against Santa Cruz. If Wood lost to Santa Cruz, it wouldn’t make sense for Lara to fight him.
Martinez was working hard on Gill early on, nailing him effectively with powerful shots. In the second round, it was clear that Gill was overmatched and heading for the first punch. He was cut in this round, and he looked patient.