Gary Russell Jr vs Kiko Martinez Preview May 18th
Gary Russell Jr of Washington DC defends his WBC Featherweight Title for the fourth time this Saturday, May 18th when he takes on Kiko Martinez of Spain at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The 12-round contest can be seen live in the UK on Sky Sports while American fans can catch it on Showtime and Canadians can see it on TSN 2. Russell last fought in May of 2018 when he beat Joseph Diaz by unanimous decision. Martinez’s last outing was in October when he beat Marc Vidal by a 10-round unanimous decision.
Russell Jr. vs Martinez Betting Odds
- Kiko Martinez +1400
- Gary Russell Jr. -5000
The 30-year-old Russell has been relatively inactive lately with just one fight a year in from 2015 to 2018. This is his first outing in almost exactly a year. The southpaw will climb into the ring with a fine record of 29-1 along with 17 Kos. His lone loss came at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko in a title shot via a majority decision in June of 2014. Russell is well known for his power, speed, and combination punching and enters the bout with a knockout ratio of 57 per cent. He stands just over 5-feet-4-inches tall with a 64-inch reach. He turned pro back in 2009 and has boxed 143 rounds since then.
Russell’s toughest pro tests so far have been against Diaz, Lomachenko, Jhonny Gonzalez and Oscar Escandon in title bouts with the rest of his opponents being relative unknowns. The champion is a tremendous athlete, but the majority of his bouts have been somewhat boring for most fans because he’s been far too superior for his opponents. He’s hoping to one day get a rematch with Lomachenko, but will have to move up in weight to do so and of course needs to get past Martinez on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old Martinez is a former world junior featherweight titleholder who has a record of 39-8-2 with 28 Kos to his name. He’s usually stumbled when fighting the elite of his weight divisions such as Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Josh Warrington, Leo Santa Cruz, Rendall Munroe and Takalani Ndlovu. Frampton and Munroe beat him twice while Frampton stopped him once as did Quigg and Santa Cruz. Martinez’s biggest wins have been over Bernard Dunne, Arsen Matirosyan, Jason Booth and Hozumi Hasegawa.
Martinez’s fights are usually quite exciting due to his power and unsteady chin. His current knockout ratio stands at 57 per cent and he’s been stopped three times. He stands 5-foot-5 with a 66-inch reach and has 282 rounds to his name since turning pro in 2004. This gives him a slight height and reach advantage of two inches over Russell. Martinez hasn’t fought often in North America, but he came over in 2013 and stopped Jhonatan Romero in the sixth round in Atlantic City to capture the IBF World Super Bantamweight Championship.
Martinez defended his crown twice before Frampton took it from him. Along the way Martinez has also captured the European Super Bantamweight Title a couple of times as well as the and WBO Latino Super Bantamweight Crown. Martinez is basically in the twilight of his career at the moment and this shot against Russell should be a decent payday for his eventual retirement.
Martinez shouldn’t be taken lightly by Russell since he’s a decent boxer with pretty good power. The champion should use his speed, mobility and boxing skills to keep Martinez on the back foot and he shouldn’t have much of a problem retaining his title once more especially since Martinez has a somewhat questionable chin.
Russell’s too slick and quick.
Play: Russell Jr. -5000 @ BetOnline.ag
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