Martinez Outlasts Jhonatan Romero to Win the World Junior Featherweight Title

Three-time European junior featherweight champion Kiko Martinez is now an official world titleholder.

The 28-year-old Spanish boxer pulled off an upset Saturday night, outgunning Colombia’s Jhonatan Romero and knocking him out in the sixth round to win the world junior featherweight title in unexpected fashion at the Revel Casino-Hotel.

Kiko Martinez

“This is a dream come true for me,” Martinez said through a translator. “[Ring announcer] Michael Buffer called out my name. This is a dream. I am super-happy. I have no words. All I want to do is give my daughter a kiss when I get home.”

Romero and Martinez went right at each other in the first round. There was no getting-to-know-you at all. But Martinez, in particular, was super-aggressive and winging hard shots, which eventually caught up to Romero, who took a beating and was a bloody mess when the fight was finally stopped.

Martinez (29-4, 21 KOs) caught Romero in the first, hurting him on a left hand and backing up. Martinez landed 44 of 88 power shots in the round and never let up.

He backed Romero up throughout the fight. He was pressuring him relentlessly and, in the third round, was strafing Romero with right hands, including one that opened a cut over the beltholder’s left eye.

In the sixth round, Martinez was bouncing Romero off the ropes with a series of shots.

Romero was out on his feet, and when Martinez blasted him with two more clean right hands, sending him into a corner, referee David Fields stepped in at 2 minutes, 40 seconds.

“I knew I had to keep throwing punches because he wasn’t responding,” said Martinez, who added that he wanted to fight former titleholder Nonito Donaire next. “Sooner or later, the referee would have to stop the fight.”

Romero (23-1, 12 KOs), 26, of Colombia, was making the first defense of the vacant 122-pound title he won by split decision against Mexico’s Alejandro Lopez on Feb. 16.