- Kiko Martinez v Carl Frampton, Super-bantamweight
Fantastic Frampton earns European title in the ninth
Carl Frampton came through the toughest test of his career to stop Kiko Martinez and claim the European super-bantamweight title on Saturday.
Frampton, undefeated as a professional boxer, was forced into the trenches at times against the gritty Spaniard, but his technique, footwork and speed advantage all made a difference as he eventually stopped his rival in the ninth round.
It was a short, sharp, right hook that ended the contest for the 25-year-old, who looks destined to be a star on the world stage. Martinez came to fight, and more pertinently came to make Frampton fight, but he simply did not have the class of the Northern Irishman.
Twice before the pair had been scheduled to meet, but on both occasions Martinez pulled out. Those 18 months only served to help Frampton improve, and his quality was a level above his foe.
After a cagey opening round edged by Frampton, Martinez cut off the ring much better in the second and landed two big hooks to concern the home crowd. Frampton responded in the next with a series of sharp combinations and he wobbled the champion in the fourth.
Martinez was carrying heavy swelling under one eye as technique continued to overcome brawn, although on occasion Frampton still got drawn into all-out wars - notably in the seventh when Martinez rallied again.
Frampton eased off in the eighth but then exploded again in the ninth, when the fight ended in fitting fashion. Martinez, pushing forward as always, walked onto a sharp right that dropped him to the mat, and when he attempted to get back to his feet he staggered backwards as Frampton clinched the European crown.
Earlier in the evening, Lee Selby delivered a solid defence of his British and Commonwealth featherweight title, outclassing Martin Lindsay for a unanimous 118-110 117-111 118-109 decision. Lindsay showed courage and heart but took a catalogue of heavy shots as Selby came close to finishing the bout in the latter stages.
Early on it was the body shots of Selby - digging into the ribs of Lindsay - that began to break the challenger's defences. He then mixed up his shots as Lindsay tired, inflicting heavy bruising to Lindsay's face as a series of hooks landed, and truthfully it was only the pride of the former champion that ensured the fight went the distance.