Josh Warrington will be looking to win back the belt he never actually lost when he faces Kiko Martinez for the IBF Featherweight title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Saturday evening.
Recommended bet10:00 pm Saturday March 26
Kiko Martinez v Josh Warrington IBF Featherweight Title Boxing Betting Tips & Predictions
Leeds fighter Josh Warrington is a former IBF featherweight champion of the world – and he never actually lost his title.
He won the belt in 2018 when he claimed a split points decision over Lee Selby at Elland Road. He then went on to have three title defences.
He beat Ireland superstar Carl Frampton in a unanimous decision, he then defeated Kid Galahad on points before stopping Sofiane Takoucht in the second round.
Warrington was on top of the world, and he wanted the big fights now. But there was a spanner in the works.
The IBF ordered Warrington to face mandatory challenger Galahad for a second bout, but Warrington felt he had bigger fish to fry. He opted to vacate the belt and set up a bout against Mauricio Lara.
That is when things started to go wrong. Warrington was obliterated inside nine rounds by Lara in London. Warrington had no answer to the big-hitting Mexican and was soundly beaten.
That didn’t sit well with the Yorkshireman. He wanted revenge. He faced Lara again – this time in Leeds at Headingley. It ended up being a damp squib as a clash of heads saw Lara cut above his left eye. The cut was that bad, the fight was called off and declared a technical draw.
What was next for Warrington?
Everyone thought that despite dropping his belt to avoid Galahad, those two would soon be fighting again as Galahad had a chance to be crowned IBF champion when he was set to face Martinez in Sheffield.
Galahad was expected to win – it’s safe to say that. He was dominating the fight until Martinez caught Galahad in the sixth and was crowned world champion at the age of 35.
Martinez, now 36, will put his title on the line against Warrington in Leeds. This will be the second time these two have fought. Warrington won by majority decision when these two clashed in 2017 at the same venue they will be at on Saturday.
Martinez is a decent fighter, but he is not on Warrington’s level. The Yorkshireman will be determined to get in the ring and take all his frustrations out on the Spaniard.
Warrington feels he should be further down the line in his career in terms of fighting the stars of the division, so I am backing him to come out and blast Martinez away and snatch his title back.
Warrington will want to impress. I am backing him to spark Martinez out in the fifth round and be world champion again.
Recommended bet10:00 pm Saturday March 26
Kiko Martinez v Josh Warrington IBF Featherweight Title: Fighter’s Tips & Predictions
Josh Warrington on former Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa. “It would have been an absolutely huge honour to have him there on Saturday.
“But I’ve nowt for him to carry this time, he’d just be walking out alongside me. But if I was to win the belt it’d be a huge honour to have him there next time.
“Just to have him back and give him a proper send-off, whether it meant him getting in the ring before or after the fight, it would be brilliant, so let’s see what happens.”
18+ only. New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £50* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you five times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. BeGambleAware.org. *or currency equivalent.
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 4 X £5 BET TOKENS. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS EXCLUDE VIRTUALS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG
T&C’s Apply. New cus only. Opt-in & deposit req. 7 days to deposit and stake £10 minimum bet at odds of 1.5 or greater to qualify. Max 3x £10 free bets credited on bet settlement. Free bets must be used on 4 or more selections with selection odds of 1.3 or greater. Free bets are non-withdrawable and stake not returned with winnings. 7 day expiry.
New customer offer. Max £/€10 refund. Sportsbook only. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
New Customer offer. Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
New 18+ UK customers only. Register using the promo code WELCOME40, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets and £10 in Free Spins (50x20p) credited within 10 hours of bet settlement. Free Bet stakes are not included in any returns. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
New customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £10. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card deposits only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Terms apply.
New UK, IE & Malta customers only. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. 18+. BeGambleAware.org. Full T&Cs apply.
New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. See full terms below. #ad