It is an impressive record but Kiko Martinez will not know what has hit him when he enters the heaving cauldron of the Point Depot to challenge Bernard Dunne for the European super-bantamweight title.
So says the defending champion, who was in confident mood at yesterday’s press conference to announce details of the Brian Peters promotion, in association with Dennis Hobson and Pat Magee on August 25.
The card will not be finalised until Thursday but is already historic for the fact that it will include a British title fight in Ireland for the first time, with former IBO super-middleweight kingpin Brian Magee from Northern Ireland challenging Portsmouth fighter Tony Oakey for the light heavyweight title.
If Magee prevails over Oakey, he will get a shot at Clinton Woods’ IBF world crown, but all eyes will be on Dunne for what Peters describes as the sternest test of his charge’s career.
Martinez, the No.1 mandatory challenger, has never fought outside Alicante, and that will be a significant factor according to the Neilstown native.
“We’re not in Alicante anymore. This is going to be a different atmosphere than he’s ever sampled before” Dunne warned.
“He’s never boxed in front of an atmosphere like there’s going to be in the Point. It’s incredible. He was there the other night at the National Stadium to watch John Duddy box and that was only a small sample for him. When he steps into the Point in front of my home fans, it’s gonna be absolutely rocking.
“It’s gonna be a tough fight. He has a great record, is a good puncher, but you know I’ve a good record myself and we’ll see how Kiko reacts when I start hitting him back.”
Later on, Martinez, speaking through an interpreter, said that he wanted to be in the ring with somebody who could hit him back, causing Dunne to interject with a smile: “He’ll certainly get that. We’ll try our best to accommodate him.”
In stark contrast to Dunne, Martinez looked nervous, or at least shy, with his eyes constantly drifting to the floor.
There was none of the champ’s brashness but according to his manager/trainer Alberto Gonzolas, Martinez is a “big kid”, just 21, who lives with him and his wife. When asked to sign autographs Martinez makes drawings of little stickmen.
But the 21-year-old is a different character in the ring, we were assured, even if his management conceded that he had been taken aback by the National Stadium noise last Saturday night.
“We thank Bernard for the opportunity but there will be only one champion and that will be Kiko Martinez,” Gonzolas trumpeted, again through an interpreter.
“When Bernard says Kiko hasn’t fought anyone of his calibre, Kiko also thinks that Bernard has not fought anyone of his calibre.”
Martinez himself was nothing if not respectful towards Dunne but made little of the ‘Point Factor’.
“I know that Bernard is a good rival, a champion that will be hard to handle but I have prepared myself very hard. The fight is going to be spectacular,” he said.
“I think I have a very good chance against him. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.
“When we get into the ring there’s only two people there and 8,000 will not help him or me.”
Meanwhile, Hobson was playing up the winner’s future prospects but a focused Dunne refuses to look beyond August 25.
“I’m just delighted to be given this opportunity to fight Kiko. Everybody has been talking about this fight even before the (Reider) Walstad fight and it’s great to have Dennis and Pat involved and working with Brian to bring me to the big stage.
“That’s what I got into boxing for but let’s just focus on Kiko and then we’ll look to the future after that.”
Having said that though, he can only envisage one possible result: “Another win for Bernard Dunne.”
Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday, priced from €75.