Warrington demolishes Martinez for IBF belt in stunning seven-round stoppage
Josh Warrington’s father and trainer, Sean O’Hagan, expects his son to pursue his American dream after winning back the IBF featherweight title.
Warrington became a double world champion in thrilling fashion in his hometown of Leeds on Saturday night, silencing his doubters with a superb seventh round stoppage of tough Spaniard Kiko Martinez.
‘The Leeds Warrior’, who regained the IBF belt he first won by beating Lee Selby in 2018 and released 14 months ago, did not emerge unscathed as he was later rushed to the hospital with a suspected broken jaw and hand.
O’Hagan told the PA news agency: ‘I think what it does, it gives us options now, doesn’t it?
“Josh has always expressed an interest in going overseas to fight in Las Vegas, or maybe New York.
“But then again, we have (WBA champion) Leigh Wood in the equation, don’t we? We have (WBC champion) Mark Magsayo, the possibilities are now many.
Warrington had slipped down the pecking order after his previous two fights in 2021, which ended in a shock first career loss to Mauricio Lara and then a technical draw in a rematch against the Mexican.
But the 31-year-old ‘Leeds Warrior’ responded to his critics with a brutal demolition of Martinez in a sold-out and noisy First Direct Arena.
O’Hagan suggested Warrington has two more career-defining fights left and believes he’s earned the right to follow his heart when it comes to choosing his next move.
“With a fighter like Josh, who has put his heart and soul into his career for the past 12 or 13 years, we have to recognize what he wants,” O’Hagan said.
“I know it would be a unification (fight) in the United States, so we can’t rule out (WBA super featherweight champion Leo) Santa Cruz.
“If I had to pick one, I’d say we’re going to face Santa Cruz and then we’ll come home for maybe his last and unify against Leigh Wood.
“There will be clamor for this, absolutely, but like I said, Josh did everything he was ever asked to do.”
Warrington got off to a flying start against Martinez, who claimed the IBF crown by knocking out Kid Galahad of Sheffield in November.
The Yorkshireman sent Martinez crashing to the canvas with a right hook flush to his chin in round one and also opened a cut over the Spaniard’s left eye.
Martinez somehow survived as the onslaught continued in round two and proved himself a worthy champion as he returned to the fight after Warrington let off the gas in the next two rounds.
Warrington was caught with heavy punches in the fourth and fifth rounds, but responded in the sixth.
After trapping Martinez on the ropes in the seventh, another relentless barrage from Warrington prompted the referee to step in and stop the fight.