Kiko Martinez to Reportedly Fight Josh Warrington in March

Kiko Martinez it preparing for a massive rematch…

The 35-year-old Spanish professional boxer, who has held the IBF featherweight title since November 2021, will fight Josh Warrington for a featherweight title on March 26 in England, according to ESPN sources.

Kiko Martinez

The rematch is one of two 126-pound title bouts Matchroom Boxing‘s Eddie Hearn will promote on DAZN in the U.K. that month. On March 12, Leigh Wood defends his title against Michael Conlan.

The pair of bouts could lead to a unification later in the year.

Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs) scored a highlight-reel sixth-round TKO of Kid Galahad in November in one of the year’s biggest upsets.

When they met in 2017, Warrington (30-1-1, 7 KOs) scored a majority decision victory over Martinez. The fighters were moving in different directions; Warrington, an Englishman, went on to win a featherweight title and scored wins over Carl Frampton, Galahad and Lee Selby. Martinez, meanwhile, suffered losses to Gary Russell Jr., and Zelfa Barrett.

But the 2021 campaign drastically altered their trajectories. Warrington, 31, suffered a stunning ninth-round TKO loss to Mauricio Lara in February in a brutal beating before the September rematch ended in a technical draw after two rounds due to an accidental clash of heads that left Lara with a gruesome cut.

Martinez was an afterthought heading into this bout with Galahad, but the 8-1 underdog scored the biggest win of career at 35.

Now Martinez and Warrington will meet again, and surprisingly, it’s the elder man who has the title and all the momentum.

Joseph Diaz Jr. Agrees to WBC Lightweight Title Fight Against Devin Haney

Joseph Diaz Jr. is thisclose to a title fight…

The 28-year-old Mexican American boxer and Devin Haney have agreed to terms for a WBC lightweight title fight on December 3 or December 4 in Las Vegas on DAZN, according to ESPN.Joseph Diaz Jr.

Contracts haven’t been signed yet but details are in the process of being finalized, sources said. The framework of the deal includes a rematch clause in the event Haney loses.

The fight is part of an intriguing three-week stretch for the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez, who holds four lightweight titles, fights George Kambosos on November 27 on DAZN.

One week later, Eddie Hearn will promote another important lightweight fight with the Haney-Diaz clash. That same weekend, on December 5, Gervonta Davis fights Rolando Romero on Showtime PPV.

And then on December 11 on ESPN, Vasiliy Lomachenko meets Richard Commey.

The Haney-Diaz agreement caps months of back-and-forth insults traded between the boxers. When Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) agreed to fight Ryan Garcia on November 27, Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) accused Diaz of ducking a chance at him.

But that fight fell through when Garcia suffered a hand injury in training and underwent surgery on Monday. With Haney and Diaz both in need of an end-of-year fight, the matchup made too much sense for all parties.

Haney, ESPN’s No. 3 lightweight, is coming off the biggest win of his career, a May decision victory over former champion Jorge Linares. Diaz, too, is coming off a strong performance, a July points win over Javier Fortuna that earned him the No. 7 spot in ESPN’s lightweight rankings.

That was the Olympian’s first fight at 135 pounds. He defeated Tevin Farmer in 2020 to win a 130-pound title and in his other title bid, lost to Gary Russell Jr. at 126 pounds in 2018.

Haney, No. 3 on ESPN’s list of the top 25 boxers under 25, is one of the sport’s fastest-rising stars. The Las Vegas-based fighter boasts over 1 million followers on Instagram, and with his abundant charisma, surely has a chance to break through to the mainstream. What’s stopped him thus far is lack of opposition.

The 22-year-old Haney often calls himself the most-avoided fighter in the sport. That can no longer be said with a stern challenger in Diaz lined up for December.

Brandon Figueroa to Put WBC & WBA Titles On Line Against Stephen Fulton in November

Brandon Figueroa is putting his titles on the line…

The 24-year-old Mexican American professional boxer, who currently holds the WBC and WBA super bantamweight titles, will face Stephen Fulton on November 27 at Park MGM in Las Vegas, according to Premier Boxing Champions.

Brandon Figueroa

The Showtime main event was set for September 18 but was postponed after Figueroa tested positive for COVID-19.

Murodjon Akhmadaliev, ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at junior featherweight, holds two titles. After Fulton and Figueroa fight — assuming there’s no draw — there will be just two champions at 122 pounds, clearing the path for an undisputed title fight next year.

Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) won the WBO version of the title in January with a unanimous decision victory over Angelo Leo. The 27-year-old Philadelphian, ESPN’s No. 2 junior featherweight, threw 1,183 punches in the breakthrough win.

Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) won the WBC junior featherweight title with a seventh-round KO of Luis Nery in a career-best performance in May. The volume puncher from Weslaco, Texas, and ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 122 pounds is the younger brother of former title contender Omar Figueroa Jr.

The bout, which features two volume punchers, seems like a can’t-miss action fight.

The undercard is topped by Ra’eese Aleem, ESPN’s No. 7 boxer at 122 pounds, against Eduardo Baez. Aleem is coming off a career-best win, an 11th-round stoppage of Vic Pasillas in January. Gary Antonio Russell, the younger brother of Gary Russell Jr., meets Alejandro Barrios in the 118-pound opener.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. Defeats Javier Fortuna to Claim Vacant WBC Interim Lightweight Title

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. is celebrating his good fortuna

The 28-year-old Mexican American professional boxer delivered the most impressive performance of his career on Friday in Los Angeles, scoring a unanimous decision over Javier Fortuna to claim the vacant WBC interim lightweight title.

Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr.

Scores were 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112. ESPN also scored it 115-112.

In his lightweight debut, Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) showed he could absorb heavy shots from a dangerous puncher and carry his own power, too. He wobbled Fortuna toward the end of the 10th round of a fight that featured some brutal exchanges on the inside, often waged at a frenetic pace.

“I can fight all the top guys at 135 pounds,” said Diaz, who entered the bout as ESPN’s No. 5 boxer at 130 pounds. “I want Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney. Let’s make this s— happen.

“I’ve been sparring 160 pounders. I’ve always worked with bigger guys my whole life.”

Despite fighting for his first world title at 126 pounds (a close decision defeat to Gary Russell Jr.) before capturing a championship at 130, 135 appears to be Diaz’s most natural weight class. He looked stronger than ever, and without the tough weight cut, showed off energy down the stretch to unleash four- and five-punch combinations against a crafty contender.

The 2012 Olympian was forced to deal with adversity yet again. He suffered a cut over his left eye in Round 3 following a clash of heads — a gash in the same area he bled from in his title-winning effort vs. Tevin Farmer in January 2020.

The following frame, Diaz was penalized one point by referee Raul Caiz Jr., for hitting behind the head, a point deduction that seemed borderline. Diaz argued that he was hitting Fortuna on the side of the head to no avail.

Fortuna, ESPN’s No. 8 fighter at 135 pounds, pressed the action in Rounds 5 and 6, beating Diaz to the punch with power shots. But the 31-year-old couldn’t sustain.

Fighting in front of a hometown crowd at Banc of California Stadium, Diaz ratcheted up the pressure and began to dig away at Fortuna’s body with a two-fisted attack that stunted the Dominican’s momentum.

Diaz simply landed the cleaner, flusher shots in the exchanges down the stretch, winning the favor of the judges in a bout that featured many tit-for-tat rounds. Fortuna threw 761 punches — 240 more than Diaz — yet landed 10 less shots.

With the convincing victory, Diaz set himself up for a career-high payday in one of boxing’s most star-driven divisions. Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia all reside at lightweight.

The easiest matchups to make are with Haney and Garcia, both of whom also compete on DAZN. Haney and Garcia also are available; they each have no fights scheduled. But it’s the Garcia fight in particular that is more appealing for many reasons.

Garcia was actually set to fight Fortuna (36-3-1, 25 KOs) on this night before he withdrew from the bout to seek treatment for his mental health. When he pulled out, Diaz quickly lobbied for the opportunity to step in, looking for redemption after losing his title at the scales in February before settling for a majority draw against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.

Now that Garcia is back in training with Eddy Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez’s gym in San Diego, a bout between Diaz and the social media sensation is a natural. They’re both Mexican Americans from Southern California who are promoted by Oscar De La Hoya. Stage the fight this fall in L.A., and they can practically guarantee a windfall at the box office.

“JoJo once again showed a lot of guts, a lot of courage and a big heart,” De La Hoya said. “His first fight at 135 was not too shabby. I think he did a great job against a guy who’s been avoided for years.”

Leo Santa Cruz to Vie for a Belt in a Fourth Weight Division Against Miguel Flores

Leo Santa Cruz is looking for a fourth world title…

Premier Boxing Champions has announced that the 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer and featherweight world titlist will go for a belt in a fourth weight division when he moves up to junior lightweight to face Miguel Flores for a vacant 130-pound title.

Leo Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs), who has won world titles at bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight, will leave behind the featherweight division having had two title reigns and having made three defenses in his current reign, but not having had the major fight he could have had: a title unification bout against fellow PBCfighter Gary Russell Jr.

“When I first started boxing my dream was to be a world champion, and I’ve been fortunate to win three different world championships in three different divisions,” Santa Cruz said. “I couldn’t imagine winning championships in four divisions. It’s something I never really dreamed of, and I’m very happy about this opportunity.

“I know Flores is another tough Mexican boxer like me. He always comes forward, so it’s going to be a fun fight for the fans. I’m really looking forward to fighting again in Las Vegas at MGM Grand.”

Santa Cruz was supposed to defend his featherweight belt against Flores (24-2, 12 KOs), 27, of Houston, on February 16 in Los Angeles, but Flores suffered an ankle injury and withdrew, and Santa Cruz instead outpointed Rafael Rivera in a one-sided fight.

Flores has won two fights in a row, both in the junior lightweight division.

“I’m extremely excited to be getting this opportunity once again to fight Leo Santa Cruz and win a world title,” Flores said. “This is a dream come true for me, and I’m going to take advantage of the situation.

“This moment in my life is something I’ve envisioned since I was a kid. On November 23, you will see the best version of myself as I plan to be in the best shape of my life, with the goal of becoming a world champion, and what better way to do it than in Las Vegas at MGM Grand. Leo and I are going to put on a great show, that you can guarantee.”