By James Slater
Photos: Laurence Lustig
It was a lively, even heated press conference today as rival super-bantamweights Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland and Kiko Martinez of Spain came face to face. The pair will clash – finally, after two previously postponed bouts – this Saturday at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, and defending European champ Martinez vowed to make unbeaten Frampton pay for suggesting he is a coward for twice pulling out of facing him.
“I’ve come here because Frampton is too sacred to come to Spain,” 26-year-old Martinez stated. “I’ve come here to shut Frampton’s mouth once and for all!” Martinez, 27-3(19) and never stopped, urged 25-year-old Frampton, 15-0(10) to “come to fight and not run.”
For his part, Barry McGuigan protégé Frampton refereed to his opponent as “desperate” and “tight at the weight.”
“I think he’s a desperate man and he’s trying to force me into a fight,” Frampton said.
“He’s struggling at the weight, he looks gaunt and that might be why he was a bit touchy. [But] I think he’s underestimating how good I can fight up close. I can outfight him, I can outbox him, I can do whatever I want to win the fight.”
Bookmakers William Hill are currently offering these odds on the fight: Frampton is 1/5. Martinez is 10/3. While a draw is listed at 25/1. For a 1st-round KO by Martinez, punters can get 40/1. For a 1st-round KO by Frampton, the odds are a lower 22/1.
Frampton closed by stating how he believes an impressive win may lead towards fights with the division’s big guns, including Guillermo Rigondeaux.