According to an article Saturday on ProBoxingInsider.com, Kiko Martinez scored a 9th round stoppage victory over former champion Jeffrey Mathebula Saturday night to retain his IBF super bantamweight title in the very first defense of the championship.
Mathebula came into the fight looking ready to go, but it appears his age has finally caught up with him, like it does with all fighters.
With the bout taking place in Elche, Spain, Martinez delighted his countrymen in attendance as he made Mathebula look foolish throughout most off the early action. Despite a significant advantage in both height and reach, Mathebula was unable to close the distance, leaving almost all of his punches well short of the target. Additionally, the title holder had a clear advantage in both power and ring activity.
Just as it appeared that all hope was lost for Mathebula, he seemed to get back into things around in the sixth round. Hardly a shift in momentum, he at least held his own for the first time in the fight. Unfortunately, that didn't last very long.
The seventh saw Martinez take control once again, although it was again a fairly close round. By the time the eighth came, it was clear that Mathebula was all but finished offering up any real resistance.
In the ninth, Martinez would close the show, as a blistering left hook finished off Mathebula, and most likely any opportunity he will ever have at competing for a major title.
With the victory, Kiko Martinez improves his record to an impressive 30-4-1 (22 KO's). Jeffrey Mathebula suffered his second loss in three fights, with his record sliding to 27-5-2 (14 KO's).
2013 didn't start off nearly as well as it is ending for Martinez. Although he put in a strong showing, he was stopped himself in the 9th round at the hands of Carl Frampton back in February. Though he performed well, many thought the loss showed that although he was talented, he was a fringe contender at best.
Three consecutive knockouts later, the same can no longer be said. In fact, many believe that a rematch with Carl Frampton is now in order.