|Kiko Martinez vs Josh Warrington||Preview|
|Where||First Direct Arena, Leeds|
|When||Saturday, March 26, 5pm ET|
Saturday evening sees a notable rematch near the top of the featherweight division, to be broadcast on DAZN from Leeds, England.
It’s a fight that, just over a year ago, would have been deemed highly unnecessary, if not entirely unthinkable. Josh Warrington (30-1-1, 7 KOs) had, in February 2021, racked up three defenses of his IBF world title at 126lb, and was firmly established as one of the names to beat in the weight class. After vacating his belt, a seemingly routine keep-busy fight against a largely unknown Mexican derailed any future plans in dramatic fashion, with Mauricio Lara stepping into the ring as an enormous +1200 outsider and leaving nine rounds later with both the belt and one of the year’s biggest betting upsets. A treacherous-looking rematch was aborted after just two rounds after a clash of heads, leaving Warrington in no man’s land.
Kiko Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs), the 36-year-old veteran who now holds Warrington’s old title, was the beneficiary of another sensational upset win - coincidentally also involving a +1200 underdog - when he stopped then-champion Kid Galahad inside six rounds in one of 2021’s most dramatic bouts. The outcome for Warrington was a perfect one, and meant that suddenly, and most unexpectedly, a repeat of a fiercely-contested affair with Martinez from 2017 was a logical next step.
It was Warrington who triumphed when the two men first met, and it’s the Leeds man who’s been installed as the firm -350 to do so again here. That quote implies the home favorite has a 78% chance of success, but -400 (80%) is the price more readily available across the industry. Martinez, of Elche, Spain, is considered by the oddsmakers to be a +300 shot, or a 25% win chance.
To predict Saturday night’s main event looks much like their first encounter doesn’t take a great deal of imagination. With only 7 knockouts to his name in 30 wins (23%) and at 31 years old, Warrington now is what he is: a high-pressure, high-volume boxer who wins fights on output and activity rather than concussive punch power. The ace in his deck here, as it has been in so many of his big nights, is the Leeds crowd, whose noise will turn the First Direct Arena into a bear pit of an atmosphere for Martinez to overcome.
Although he’s an unsurprising favorite, it’s difficult to make a case for Warrington as a near-80% chance. He looked rocky early on in the Lara rematch, and there have been countless examples of fighters losing their edge - and punch resistance - later in their careers after such damaging knockout defeats. If the seemingly evergreen Martinez can hurt the tricky Galahad, it feels likely he can do the same to a Warrington who will be much easier to find.
Will wear and tear be a factor?
It’s odds-on that Warrington will win a decision here, with the layers making it -125 (56%) that he does enough for the judges. However, while that still feels the most likely result, it’s one that’s fraught with difficulty — and with the recent wear and tear he’s had inflicted, there are enough question marks to avoid paying the premium.
Martinez will likely need a knockout - getting a fair shake on enemy territory against arguably the best-supported fighter in the UK seems highly unlikely - but the prices have always looked too wide, and at 3-to-1 odds he looks the value pick.
Martinez vs Warrington free pick
Kiko Martinez (+300)
Here's the full Martinez vs Warrington DAZN card from the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
Kiko Martinez vs Josh Warrington
Maxi Hughes vs Ryan Walsh
Maria Cecilia Roman vs Ebanie Bridges
Dalton Smith vs Ray Moylette
Calum French vs Angelo Turco
Mali Wright vs Luis Palmer
Cory O'Regan vs Jakub Laskowski
Skye Nicolson vs TBC
The Kiko Martinez vs Josh Warrington rematch will stream live on DAZN in over 200 countries across the globe. The undercard fights start at 3:30pm ET.
The weigh in for Kiko Martinez vs Josh Warrington 2 will take place on Friday in Leeds. The event is open to the public. For more information see Matchroom.com.
To Win Fight
The simplest bet on boxing that we can make. All we need to do is predict which of the two fighters will be victorious. It doesn’t matter how or when they win, all that counts is that the referee holds aloft our selection’s hand at the end of the fight.