Josh Warrington vs Kiko Martinez 2: Leeds Warrior makes retirement admission

  • Tom Ward

Josh Warrington has admitted his career will be ‘more or less done’ if he cannot beat Kiko Martinez in a rematch.

It has been over a year since Warrington was stopped in a shocking upset by Mauricio Lara at London’s Wembley Arena before their second fight ended rather prematurely after an accidental clash of heads.

But the Leeds Warrior has decided to return to the ring this time in more familiar surroundings at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

He will rematch Martinez for the IBF featherweight title he vacated a month prior to his defeat to Lara in February of last year.

The bookies have installed Warrington as the odds-on favourite to win the fight.

Victory will almost certainly set up a Lara trilogy fight – and an all-British showdown with Leigh Wood has also been discussed.

But 31-year-old Warrington, now in his 13th year as a pro, knows he cannot afford to take Martinez lightly as his career is on the line.

He told ITV: “For me, a loss at this stage of my career, it’s more or less done, it’s as simple as that.

Boxing – Kiko Martinez & Josh Warrington Press Conference – The Banking Hall, Leeds, Britain – January 28, 2022 Josh Warrington during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

“I have a goal and I’m going to keep that goal to myself with how many fights I’ve got left. I think I can achieve those goals.

“Back in the day I used to say ‘I’ll go until the wheels fall off’. That’s no longer an option. I’ve got a young family.

“We’ll see what happens. People keep telling me there’s plenty left in the tank but I’d like to get out on my own terms, not constantly chasing it.”

Warrington also revealed that he has ‘tonnes of respect’ for Martinez but all of that will go out of the window on Saturday night.

He added: “I have tonnes of respect for him.

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“He never ducks a challenge and he always brings it all. He’s an honest fighter and you need people like that.

“I always knew that if I could beat a Kiko Martinez, I could go on and win a world title because he’d mixed it with some of the best.

“Fighting in the United States is just something I want to do. I feel like I cemented these shores, but there’s some real big names still out there. The options are interesting.”

But it’s not just the rematch boxing fans have got to look forward to, with a decent undercard lined up for what should be an entertaining night of fights in West Yorkshire.

Maxi Hughes defends his IBO lightweight title against British rival Ryan Walsh to top a packed undercard.

Before that Ebanie Bridges goes up against Maria Cecilia Roman for the IBF bantamweight title.

While British stars Calum French, Dalton Smith and Mali Wright are also in action.

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