Julio Cesar Martinez gets a second and deserved shot at the WBC world flyweight title when he challenges for the belt vacated by his last opponent Charlie Edwards. In a bizarre ending that saw Martinez clearly hit Edwards with a debilitating body shot while he was on the deck, the contest was stopped with the Mexican believing he was the winner and new world champion only for WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman who was at ringside to declare a no contest. Using slow-motion replay from Sky television which showed how late Martinez's final blow was, Sulaiman was given no choice.
Martinez, 24 and with a 14-1-0, 1 NC with 11 Ko's record did not, in my opinion, try to win by foul means, he simply didn't have to. He was so superior to Edwards on the night that fouling deliberately would be stupid and ill-disciplined and I doubt he is either. He was in full attack mode and couldn't pull the punch that cost him his title coronation.
Martinez now gets to face the man Edwards defeated to win the title at the O2 arena in December 2018. Still only 25-years-old, Nicaraguan Cristofer Rosales (29-4-0, 20 Ko's) is a tough proposition for any flyweight in the world.
Martinez vs Rosales takes place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena, in Phoenix on Friday 20th December so Martinez should have plenty of Mexican support. Daniel Jacobs vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is also on the card which will be shown by streaming service DAZN in the USA and Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
Rosales travelled to Yokohama, Japan when the opportunity arose to challenge big-hitting Daigo Higa (15-1-0, 15 Ko's) for the title. Higa came in over the 112lb flyweight limit so only Rosales could win the title. The Managua native stopped Higa in 9 rounds.
Oddly enough 3 of Rosales's losses have come in the UK against British fighters, Kal Yafai, Andrew Selby, and Charlie Edwards. His only other defeat was in his 3rd professional outing against fellow countryman Keyvin Lara.
Martinez arrived on the world scene with a bang when he stopped Welsh world title hope Andrew Selby in 5 rounds in a WBC eliminator in Metepec, Mexico in March. Although Selby was boxing in a notoriously tough environment for visiting boxers, he was still expected to have too many skills for the rugged Martinez.
When The Mexico City resident took is title chance against Edwards in August he looked strong and powerful, and while he won't ever be called slick, he showed a spiteful streak that will serve him well in world-class company.
Rosales is also tough and uncompromising so expect fireworks from this pair.
Prediction: Martinez to stop Rosales within 10 rounds.