Kiko Martinez vs Jeffrey Mathebula Preview December 21
Kiko Martinez of Spain will be attempting to defend his IBF Junior Featherweight Championship against veteran Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa in Alicante, Spain, this Saturday, December 21. The 27-year-old Martinez will climb through the ring ropes with a 29-4 record along with 21 Kos while the 34-year-old Mathebula comes into the bout with a mark of 27-4-2 along with 14 Kos to his name.
The champion is on a pretty good roll at the moment with nine wins in his last 10 bouts with the only loss coming to Carl Frampton by KO in the ninth round in February of this year. Martinez is a hard puncher with an aggressive style and prefers to land his accurate power shots while engaging in brawls rather than boxing matches. His 21 knockouts in 29 wins is evidence of his power and style.
Mathebula is an exciting fighter, but doesn’t quite have the same power as Martinez. He’s beaten Takalani Ndlovu a couple of times in recent bouts by a split and unanimous decision, but he lost his IBF crown in July of 2012 to Nonito Donaire by a unanimous decision. The styles of the two boxers should make it an entertaining and action-packed contest for the fans.
They’re both experienced boxers with Martinez having the edge in hand speed, punch accuracy and power while Mathebula is better defensively and has a higher punch output on average per round. They both have pretty good chins and always come into bouts in excellent condition. Of course, Martinez does have youth on his side as he’s seven years younger, but Mathebula has a six-inch advantage in both height and reach. Martinez stands just 5-foot-5 with a 66-inch reach.
Martinez’s last bout was a TKO win over Jonathan Romero in the sixth round in August. He came out swinging with power shots as that’s his style. He likes to put on as much pressure as possible on his opponents and back them up. He’ll likely attempt the same thing against Mathebula since he needs to get on the inside to land his shots effectively. On the other hand, Mathebula will have to pick the champion off as he tries to get into firing range.
The challenger is quite active in the ring when it comes to throwing punches and he actually threw 400 more than Donaire in their meeting. The jab will be a key for Mathebula and if he can establish it early and keep his distance he could be successful. He needs to dictate the pace in the fight, but it may be hard to keep Martinez at bay since the South African lacks power. Another problem the challenger has had recently has been his punch accuracy.
Martinez will be looking to land powerful, short and quick shots and he’ll need to find an answer for Mathebula’s jab. It’s possible that Martinez could keep his title by a decision or by a stoppage, while Mathebula’s best chance appears to be on points. Although Frampton showed that Martinez can be stopped within the distance. Mathebula has also been stopped once, by Thomas Mashaba in the seventh round back in 2003.
If Mathebula gets drawn into a slugfest it will favour the more powerful Martinez. The challenger should try to stick to boxing and frustrate the champion. To do this though he’s going to need to be accurate with his punches and has to make sure he’s jabbing and throwing in volume. If he fights to his strengths he can win this bout, but if he fights Martinez’s fight then it’s likely he’ll lose. This is going to be an active fight and Martinez has the advantage of fighting at home. It’s likely to go the distance and be close on the scorecards, but Mathebula has the skills to pull off an upset here.
Sportsbook 5dimes.eu has the latest odds of a Martinez win at -250 and a Mathebula victory at +190. Visit 5Dimes.eu to see up to date odds and to bet on this fight. You should also check out our recent boxing betting predictions to see how we’ve done of late capping the fights.