WBC Flyweight champion Charlie Edwards has what could be called his acid test on the O2 Arena bill headlined by Luke Campbell's world Lightweight championship meeting with Ukrainian Vasiliy Lomachenko when he meets his mandatory contender, Mexico's Julio Cesar Martinez Aguilar.
Martinez is the man that took the unbeaten record of Wale's Andrew Selby back in March in a WBC final eliminator which took place in Mexico. Even with the burden of fighting in Martinez's home country, Selby was still favourite to score a win and be the one facing Edwards, but Martinez did what no-one else had come close to doing and stopped the fleet-footed Welshman in the 5th round with a body shot.
Edwards and Martinez's records are very similar. Edwards has a single loss to two-weight world champion John Riel Casimero when challenging for the Filipino's IBF world Flyweight title in September 2016 in a bout that most believe just came too early in the Epsom man's career. Martinez's sole loss was in his professional debut against the 5-0 Joaquin Cruz. Martinez has 14 wins, 11 by stoppage, and Edwards 15 wins with 6 early nights.
Other than the Selby win, the best result on Martinez's slate is his 8 round unanimous decision win over former long-reigning WBC light-flyweight world champion Edgar Sosa. It was Sosa's final fight, and he was 38-years-old when he retired. Because many of Martinez's opponents are not household names it is easy to imagine that they were of inferior quality, but this is boxing in Mexico and even those with poor statistical records can really fight. This is why the Selby win came as such a shock to those that had recognised the skillset of the Welshman. There was nothing to indicate that Martinez could pull off the upset.
Edwards knows what to expect at the O2 on August 3rd. Not since he faced the teak-tough Casimero has he been tested to the level that I believe Martinez will bring to proceedings.
Since Edwards won the title and defended it against Spaniard Angel Moreno he looks to have moved to a higher level. Sometimes the expectations on the shoulders of those with top-level amateur success are too much. In the pro's, having man strength and a spiteful nature is far more important when you're in a dog fight with your career on the line than the niceties of the unpaid code. This is what tilts the scales in Edwards's favour, that and home advantage. Martinez has never fought outside his home country.
Prediction: I think Edwards might have to get off the floor or at least ship some heavy punishment from the rock-solid Martinez, but he will come through to take a close points victory to retain his beloved WBC belt.