British boxing fans could be close to a blockbuster super bantamweight world title unification match up between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg, but both men must first come through their respective September bouts unscathed.
The 27-year-old Frampton (18-0, 13KO's) will tussle with Kiko Martinez (31-4, 23KO's) for the second time, this time with the IBF belt on the line, in a custom built stadium at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The pair squared off in February of 2013 for the European title, and it was the Tigers Bay native with his arm held aloft courtesy of a stunning ninth round knockout.
Martinez had the edge in first meeting
The action was heated from the opening bell, as the alacritous Spaniard bulled forward with a tight defensive guard and bob-and-weave style. When in range, Martinez unloaded with clusters of strong swings to the head and body of Frampton, whilst Barry McGuigan's protege circled to his left and boxed cautiously and cleverly off the back foot.
Although Martinez presents a small target and is difficult to catch cleanly, Frampton's classy boxing skills, fleet-footedness and slashing offence were enough for him to control the majority of the exchanges and stay ahead on the scorecards.
'La Sensacion' did manage to back 'The Jackal' onto the ropes and let rip with his trademark bombs from time to time, but those moments were fleeting and the agile Frampton spun out of harms way.
Martinez has bounced back in style
Since what was arguably the hardest night of his career, the Alicante born and raised slugger has claimed the prestigious red and gold belt by stunning Colombia's Jhonatan Romero in Atlantic City, and he has made two successful defences of his world title by knocking out Jeffrey Mathebula and Hozumi Hasegawa.
Frampton, on the other hand, has barged his way past a somewhat limited pair of contenders in Jeremy Parodi and Hugo Fidel Cazarez. Both are decent operators at a certain level, but both were terribly overmatched when faced with the idolised Irishman.
The general consensus is that the rematch will follow the same pattern as the initial meeting, with Frampton snatching a championship belt from Martinez. Nevertheless, to rubbish the visitors chances would be a disservice to both boxers and the event.
Quigg defence should be routine
A week later in Manchester, Quigg will put his belt on the line against Belgium's Stephane Jamoye.
The 25-year-old Bury puncher was originally scheduled to go toe-to-toe with former WBO bantamweight champion, Paulus Ambunda, but a reported injury sustained by the Namibian tough guy put paid to those plans and Jamoye was called in at the eleventh hour.
Quigg (28-0-2, 21KO's) has been criticised for the level of opposition he has faced since being awarded the WBA trinket in 2013. However, according to Joe Gallagher, the former Lord Lonsdale belt holder is one of the fittest and most dedicated boxers around the globe and he is desperate to test his skills against the very best in the 122-pound division.
Jamoye (26-5, 16KO's), a career bantamweight, is renowned for his courage and all-action style, but he has fallen short whenever he has stepped up to the highest level. Tomoki Kameda, Jamie McDonnell, Leo Santa Cruz and Shinsuke Yamanaka all boast world titles and all have beaten the 24-year-old Liege bruiser.
Quite frankly, anything less than a comfortable and eye catching victory from Quigg would be frowned upon by onlookers.
Assuming both Frampton and Quigg are successful, promoters Eddie Hearn and Barry McGuigan must come together to negotiate a highly anticipated, money spinning, crowd pleasing battle of the unbeaten world rulers.
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