By Lee Bates
Undefeated WBO super featherweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez (22-0-1,13 KOs) is what some might call a fans’ fighter. Though Martinez has been knocked down in his career, it’s his responses to the knockdowns that make his fights so exciting. A prime example would be his last fight this past March in which he became WBO super featherweight champion dethroning Nicky Cook. After Martinez was knocked down early by Cook, he became even more aggressive and stopped Cook in round four. Martinez is set to make his first title defense September 12th in his native Puerto Rico against Mexico’s former world title challenger Michael Lozada (31-5-1, 24 KOs) in a 12 round co-main event. Martinez spoke on his title winning effort against Cook, life now as a champion, and being a part of a Puerto Rican-Mexican rivalry bout.
Let’s speak first on your world title winning fight against Cook. What was going through your mind as you were knocked down early in the fight?
When I returned to the corner, my cornermen were very calm which kept me calm. I was still very confident that I would go on to win and that’s what I did.
How satisfying was it to travel such a far distance from Puerto Rico to England to win your first title?
I’m very proud that. I was able to win the world title and bring it back home to my native Puerto Rico.
How has life changed for you now since you’ve become champion?
When I’m out and about in Puerto Rico, I now get a lot more autograph and picture requests, but I’m very appreciative to the fans who support me.
What do you know of your opponent Michael Lozada?
I’ve seen some footage of him and know that he’s challenged for a world title. Like a lot of Mexican fighters, he comes to fight.
With you being Puerto Rican and Lozada being Mexican, does that make things a little more interesting with the history between Puerto Rican and Mexican fighters?
Many Mexican fighters enjoy very much to compete against Puerto Rican fighters as we like to compete against them. I’m excited to be making my first defense in Puerto Rico and with our styles, the fans can expect an explosive bout.
The main event will feature WBO light flyweight champion Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon (32-0-1, 6 KOs) in a 12-round rematch bout against No. 1 contender Rodel “Kid Rapido” Mayol (25-3-1, 19 KOs). Also featured on the undercard will be power puncher and unbeaten 6’6″ cruiserweight prospect Carlos Negron against an opponent to be determined. Several other undercard bouts will be announced soon.
The event titled “Undefeated Champions” is being distributed in the United States by Integrated Sports for live viewing Saturday September 12th at 9 PM/ET – 6 PM/PT on cable and satellite pay-per-view via IN Demand and DirecTV for a suggested retail price of $29.95. PR Best Boxing (Ivan & Peter Rivera) is promoting the event. Site of the fight will be the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in Hato Rey, Puerto.