Randall Munroe marked his arrival onto the super bantamweight scene in Friday night, with a masterful display of controlled boxing to capture the European title from Daya Nueva’s Kiko Martinez. But after a performance in which he hardly got onto the front foot who would have thought that this was the same Kiko Martinez who turned Bernard Dunne’s lights out in under a minute and a half of the first round in March of last year.
Reminiscent of the Dunne blow out, the contest saw an eager start from Martinez as he loaded up with his punches early. But wise to the visitors reputation and stalking tactics, Munroe was successful in neutralising everything that Martinez was able to throw with plenty of movement on the outside in the opener.
The challenger continued to stay on his toes in rounds two through four with much of the Leicester born fighters work was being done on the outside. Firing out quick combinations to stave off his relentless foe - despite doing little - Martinez looked heavy handed and dangerous on those rare occasions when he did get close.
A focused look adorning his face - Martinez portrayed a fighter who knew his time would come, and round five saw the 22-year-old closing in on his tricky southpaw foe, Munroe having to work hard not to get drawn into a toe to toe battle.
Failing to capitalise on his work in round five, Martinez continued to be kept quiet and round eight saw Munroe coming forward more than at any other point in the fight. Still wading forward with no variation to his attacks, Martinez was even driven onto to the ropes at one point in the eighth by his taller 27-year-old adversary.
After Munroe landed the punch of the round in the ninth - a right hook to the body - war commenced for the opening twenty seconds of round ten as Martinez went for broke.
Unlike his seventeen contests previous though, the bullish tactics weren’t bearing fruit for the young puncher as Munroe matched Kiko for strength before again reverting to box to instructions.
The final two rounds only underlined a game plan followed to perfection from Munroe.
Boxing off the back foot yet pushing back Martinez when possible, the Spaniard just wasn’t able to impose his will his onto his older foe. This wasn’t just down the stretch, it was the case for the whole fight.
Awaiting the judges scorecards after the final bell, the fate of the fight is always in doubt when it comes to a fighter versus a boxer. For the record I had it as 114-114 draw as I felt although he did a lot of work, most of Munroe's shots were missing. I had Kiko well up at the halfway stage before Munroe came back in the fight in the later rounds. One judge agreed with my scoring while the other two both scored in 115-113 to the hometown favourite.
On the undercard Jason 'Too Smooth' Booth defended his Commonwealth bantamweight title for the first time by defeating the Ghanian Lantey Addy by a unanimous decision over twelve rounds.
The Nottingham boxer putting the man from Ghana down in the fourth, after Addy had started the brighter of the two, and from that stage onwards it was a pretty routine win for Booth.
Image: By the 10th round alberto and Kiko knew he had left it all too late
If you would like to email the author of this article please click on the link at the top of the page.