Frampton wins European title
Updated: Sunday, 10 Feb 2013 00:12
Carl Frampton secured the European super-bantamweight title this evening with a stunning ninth-round knockout of Kiko Martinez in Belfast.
The 25-year-old Belfastman became the first man to stop the 26-year-old Spaniard with a superb right hand in the ninth, which saw Martinez hit the canvas.
The referee gave Martinez the chance to show he could fight on, but it was quickly evident he was unable to continue as he stumbled towards the ropes at the Odyssey Arena and the celebrations began for Frampton's corner.
Frampton looked comfortable in a cagey first round, but Martinez upped the tempo in round two and started to land some body shots on the Belfast fighter.
The contest exploded into life in the fourth round, with a powerful left hook from the Spaniard catching Frampton off-guard.
But the challenger hit back and began to chip away at his opponent before gradually assuming control and ending the fight in style in the ninth.
"It feels amazing," Frampton said on Sky Sports 1. "I just want to thank everyone who came out here. I just want the whole of Belfast to be proud of me. I want to be a world champion and I'm getting close."
The Belfast man played down the pre-fight tension between the pair in his post-match interview.
"(It was a) very tough night. He was harder to hit than I thought. He's tough as nails," Frampton said of Martinez, who made throat-slitting gestures towards his rival at yesterday's weigh-in. "All that stuff at the weigh-in - that's just macho-ism. He's a nice guy and I'll shake his hand.
"I want to be a world champion and I'm getting close" - Frampton
"I told him I'd outbox him at the start and I'd outfight him at the end - and that's exactly what I've done.
"He's a big, big puncher. People had doubts about my chin. It just shows I've got a solid chin. He's one of the hardest fighters in the super-bantamweight division and I could take him all day."
Earlier in Belfast, Limerick boxer Andy Lee has defeated Dubliner Anthony Fitzgerald in their middleweight clash.
Lee struggled to deal with the aggressive style of Fitzgerald, but did enough to get the decision in the all-Irish affair over ten rounds.
The final scorecard read 98-94 in Lee's favour.
Post-fight, Lee threw down a challenge to international super middleweight title holder Darren Barker, saying: “Barker. Let’s get it on.”
Lee was, however, far from convincing in his victory over Fitzgerald and will need to up his standard significantly if he were to meet Barker in the ring.
He admitted himself post-fight that his performance was "not my best".