Sandor Martin looks to capitalise on career-defining win over Mikey Garcia and keep himself in the running for 140lb gold by beating Mexican opponent Jose Felix.

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The European Super Lightweight Champion shocked the world when he beat Mikey Garcia in his own backyard. Now on the hunt for world honours, he returns as a home corner fighter for Matchroom in an intriguing Barcelona card.

Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing have been hugely focused on expansion as they have altered to the DAZN platform. One of the first ports of call was to expand the sport in Europe and provide more exposure for fighters from the continent. As such, Matchroom have hosted shows in both Spain and Italy, as well as prospective shows in Poland teased for the future. 

The upcoming Barcelona card will be the second time Sandor Martin has headlined a Matchroom show as the home corner fighter and will feature four intriguing undercard bouts that feature both Spanish and British prospects. Here is a look ahead to Friday nights card in Catalonia

Hrvoje Sep (11-0-0) v Ricards Bolotniks (18-6-1) – 8 Rounds in the Men’s Light-Heavyweight Division: 

36-year-old Croatian fighter Hrvoje Sep makes the biggest step up of his career as he takes on solid a solid Latvian opponent in Ricards Bolotniks. 

A well-founded amateur, Sep would turn professional at a late stage, aged 31 back in 2017. Inactivity has been a problem for Sep, who has only managed to box 11 times in five years. However, along this path, he has obtained 11 wins without loss, including eight wins by knockout. 

However, this is not indicative of a journey that has been without struggle. In his third professional bout, Sep would come up against Georgian fighter Levani Lukhutashvilli. A the time, his opponent was 4-0, and Sep would soon find out why as he was dropped in the 1st round of the fight. That being said, the Croat would go on to recover well and win each of the remaining rounds, but there is no question he was given an early scare in his professional conquest. 

Since then, Sep has only fought one fighter that had a winning record, being his previous fight against 42-year-old Ukrainian-Italian Serhiy Demchenko. As such, this is rightly being considered a monumental step up for the undefeated fighter. 

His opponent is undeniably live, and his record does not do him justice. The career of Ricards Bolotniks has been far from straightforward, with the Latvian suffering losses early on in his career due to taking step-ups prematurely. Although, this has certainly developed him a reputation as a fighter who will never turn down a challenge. In 2018, Bolotniks took on two of the toughest challenges of his career to date when he took on Danish fighter Micki Nielsen, followed by later that year a bout with Thabiso Mchunu – a South African who would go on to step up to Cruiserweight and challenge for a World title. Whilst both of these were good showings for the Latvian, he would ultimately go on to lose these bouts. 

Following this, Bolotniks would go on a seven-fight winning streak that would include wins over Sergei Ekimov, Steven Ward, and Hosea Burton. Such a streak would result in the call of a lifetime from Eddie Hearn, asking the then 31-year-old to main event Fight Camp week three against highly touted and universally recognised Light Heavyweight prospect, Joshua Buatsi. 

Bolotniks would go on to give ‘Just Business’ the toughest assignment of his career, and whilst he was always behind in the fight, he proved incredibly durable and even Buatsi think with a few of the shots he landed. 

Out of the two, Sep has a considerably higher knockout ratio, but Bolotniks has been in with a significantly higher level of opposition. Furthermore, the Latvian is younger, has more rounds in the tank and as such will be favoured the longer the fight goes on. 

The Croatian fighter will undoubtedly be given the toughest eight rounds of his career, but will make a necessary step up should he wish to go on to achieve European honours. 

Jhon Jader Obregon (9-0-0) v Kyle Lomotey (10-0-0) – 8 Rounds in the Men’s Middleweight Division: 

Two undefeated Middleweights are set for action on this Bilbao card as 9-0 Colombian-Spaniard Jhon Jader Obregon and 10-0 Brit Kyle Lomotey put their undefeated records on the line in a crossroads Middleweight contest. 

This fight offers the second bout of its kind for Obregon, who last time out came up against another undefeated British in Gerome Warbuton. The 24-year-old was able to get the victory on Spanish turf and returns to Barcelona once again to face another undefeated British opponent. 

Prior to the Gerome Warbuton win, Obregon had only previously faced opponents with losing records, and still, at a young age, there is still a good amount of time for a conscientious approach to his professional career. As such, jumping directly from losing record opponents to undefeated fighters may appear to be an abrupt transition, but Obregon appears to be handling it well to date. 

His opponent, Kyle Lomotey, is one fight Obregon’s senior but will make comfortably the biggest step-up of his career in this bout. Like Obregon, Lomotey has only come up against two fighters with winning records, with his last coming in his most recent bout in a 2nd round TKO win over Israel’s Nikita Basin, who was then 4-1. 

Both fighters are tall, rangy middleweights, with just half an inch height difference between the two. Obregon boasts a higher knockout percentage, but most of Kyle Lomotey’s fights have been over four rounds. 

The lack of rounds may come back to haunt Lomotey, as he is stepping up to eight rounds for the first time in his career, and has only been past four rounds once. As such, the longer the fight goes on, the more it will surely favour the home favourite. 

A win for either fighter would be huge, and undoubtedly the biggest win on either resume. Such a victory would go a long way to giving them a chance to fight for National honours, be it the Spanish or the English Middleweight titles. 

Jorgelina Guanini (9-4-2) v Stevi Levy (5-0-0) – 8 Rounds in the Women’s Super-Bantamweight Division: 

Professional Boxing often has various different traits and nuances, but one general rule of thumb is that the ‘home corner’ fighter usually has a better record than that of the away corner fighter. If this is not the case, then either the home fighter is a champion or they are from the respective nation/region that the show is being held in. None of these traits applies to this bout, which makes it a somewhat unique contest in prospect. 

Guanini is an Argentinian fighter who, in her 11th fight, won the IBF World Super Flyweight Championship with a split decision win over fellow Argentine Debora Anahi Dionicius. 

After an almost 18 month lay-off, Guanini would return at Super Bantamweight, going up against Rachel Ball. However, the 29-year-old would miss weight by 3.5llbs, before going on to lose the bout for the vacant WBC Interim World Super Bantamweight Championship with a near shutout on the cards. Following her struggle to make weight, she would then stand-in to take on Jennifer Miranda Maqueda at Featherweight. Following this loss, Guanini would get the call to fight 3-0 prospect Ellie Scotney, pushing her all the way in a fight many believe the Argentine should have got the nod in. 

Now, less than two months after her third consecutive loss, Guanini returns again determined to get her name back in the win column at Super Bantamweight. She will take another British prospect in Stevi Levy (5-0-0). 

The 28-year-old from Kings Lynn is taking the biggest step-up of her career to date in taking on a former World Champion. Stevi has shown her ability to move between weights, fighting at Lightweight, Super Featherweight and Featherweight, before now stepping down to the 122lb division. However, whilst it is a step down in weight, it is a huge step up in class, despite Guanini’s losing streak. Previously, Levy has only touched gloves with opponents holding heavily losing records. In fact, her five wins to date have come up against opponents with a combined record of 47-168-18 – a win percentage of a little over 20%. 

To remain fair, Levy is still very much in the embryonic stages of her professional career, so the level of competition has to be kept relative as she is learning on the job. With that in mind though, this only highlights just how colossal this risk is, but also how big the reward could be. 

Losing streak or not, Levy beating a former World Champion would certainly propel her status in any division she chooses to fight in. Having fought at higher weights, the Brit will be looking to use her size and strength to her advantage to claim a shock win. 

Guanini will look to harness some of that experience from fighting at world level against an opponent that has never boxed a fighter with a record like hers. 

With just one knockout between the two, this is unlikely to be a firefight. A win for the Argentine will finally stop the rot and get her career back on track as she will hope to work her way up to becoming a two-weight champion. Meanwhile, for Levy, this is about announcing herself on a big stage and causing an upset win. Should she be successful, she will likely prolong her tenure fighting on Matchroom cards and improve her chances of reaching world level. 

Samuel Carmona (6-0-0) v Joel Cordova (13-5-2) – 10 Rounds in the Men’s Super-Flyweight Division: 

Another huge step up on this card as Samuel Carmona takes on former world title challenger Joel Cordova in the 10 round co-main event in just his seventh professional bout. 

Many people may be unaware of the name Samuel Carmona, but may well be after this fight. Samuel Carmona is a 25-year-old Spaniard, who is an extremely creditable amateur. A 2016 Olympian, Carmona boasts an impressive record in the unpaid ranks, including sharing two victories with none other than the Olympic champion Galal Yafai. 

Yafai is widely considered to be the next big thing in world boxing, so to share a 2-2 record against such a fighter is a massive feather in the cap of the young fighter. Carmona opted against going to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after they were delayed, instead opting to turn professional. So, whilst Carmona may not have an Olympic gold medal to show, he does have five pro bouts on the Brit, including a bout in which he won the WBA Regular World Flyweight Championship in his fourth outing. Furthermore, the Gran Canarian fighter is also four years younger than Yafai. 

Although, there is no question the welcoming of Joel Cordova to Barcelona is the toughest assignment of Carmona’s short professional career to date. 

The standout win of Carmona’s career so far came when he beat the Colombian veteran Jose Antonio Jiminez for the WBA regular belt with a shocking 1st round knockout. Following on from that trend, Carmona would show that his power carries weight at 115lbs too as he stopped another Mexican opponent in Luis Fernando Villa (13-2-2) in the opening round. 

As for Cordova, his career has taken a different path altogether in comparison. After debuting in 2016, he would go on to fight and lose to one Mauricio Lara in his third professional bout. 

Following a handful of other losses early in his career, Cordova bounced back from 7-4-2 to go on a six-fight winning streak, including wins up at Bantamweight. This would earn Cordova a shot at the WBC World Flyweight Champion Julio Cesar Martinez. In the biggest fight of his career, Cordova found himself outclassed by a superior opponent and was ultimately knocked out in the sixth. 

However, stepping back up to a more comfortable 115lbs, Cordova will see a bout against the 6-0 prospect as a big opportunity to get back to winning ways. 

There is no doubt that Carmona possesses more in the way of punch power, but thanks to Cordova’s experience at higher weights, it remains to be seen if his power will hold up against the Mexican. As well as this, Carmona has never been beyond eight rounds, so Cordova will look to take the fight to the late stages and outbox his inexperienced opponent. 

A win for Carmona would undoubtedly fire him up to further stardom, and put him in a position for potential title shots. With no European title at Super Flyweight, the Spaniard will see this as a step towards world level against a tough opponent. 

As for Joel Cordova, this is an opportunity to put a feather in his cap by beating a highly regarded amateur away from home. Victory for the Mexican would undoubtedly keep him in world title conversations at the lower weights. 

Sandor Martin (39-2-0) v Jose Felix (39-5-1) – 10 rounds for the Vacant WBA International Super-Lightweight Championship: 

The main event poses former European champion Sandor Martin against an unknown entity from Mexico in Jose Felix. 

Sandor Martin has long been one of Spain’s greatest hopes for a World Champion, and with fellow Spaniard Kiko Martinez losing his title to Josh Warrington last week, there will be even more desire for Martin to stay on the path to 140lb world honours. 

Born in Barcelona, Martin broke ground that would have been rarely walked on at the time by turning professional at just 18 years of age in 2011. Learning on the job, the Spaniard would amass 15 wins in just two years to kickstart his career. However, aged just 20, he would suffer a setback in the winter of 2013 as he would lose his first fight to Frenchman Alexandre Lepelley. 

This did not sway Martin though, who would once again display remarkable activity as a professional, clocking up a further 14 wins in just three years. As such, he was awarded a shot at the EBU European Super-Lightweight title. Once again in a big fight, he would be the away corner fighter against Sweden’s Anthony Yigit. Whilst Martin showed true heart and determination, he would ultimately be outscored in a unanimous decision loss to the Swede. 

Still in his mid 20’s, Martin once again hit the reset button and refused to relent as he went on another winning streak that led him to beating Andrea Scarpa to capture the European title at the second time of asking. 

Martin has always prided himself on being a fighter of integrity that will back down from no opponent and proved as such by being a fighting champion. In April 2021, he would defend his European title as the headline of a Matchroom card in his home city of Barcelona, defeating Britain’s Kay Prospere by a unanimous decision. 

When you go on long winning streaks and become a dominant European champion, sure enough, the big fights come calling. Not many could have been bigger than the opportunity to box Mikey Garcia in his home state of California. What would follow would be a monumental upset to just about everyone but Sandor Martin, who was supremely confident of pulling off the win against one of the top 140lb fighters in the world. 

To the shock of the Fresno crowd, Martin outsmarted Mikey Garcia and was quicker and sharper to the punch throughout the 10 round contest. Despite some contentious scorecards often occurring in fights such as these, the Spaniard was rightly given the nod and Sandor Martin had announced himself on the world stage in the 140lb division.  

Following Josh Taylor’s imminent vacation of the 140lb world titles to step up to Welterweight, Martin is part of a group of fighters who are chomping at the bit to get a shot at any of the vacated belts that will become available in the near future. As such, the emphasis is purely on continuing to win for anyone in the running. 

However, off the back of such a win against Mikey Garcia, there was some disappointment upon the announcement of Martin’s next opponent. It is not surprising in the sense that it is a fighter lower ranked than Martin, as it would be expected for him to be the home corner fighter with his status. That being said, many would have hoped for better than the fighter ranked 128th in the world, coming off a loss against a fighter ranked outside the top 20. 

The opponent Sandor Martin got was exactly that, in the form of the Mexican Jose Felix. Like Martin, Felix turned professional at a very young age, in fact, younger at just 17. In his native Mexico, it is common practice for many fighters who don’t qualify to a certain amateur level to turn professional at a young age, or even for some to skip the senior amateurs altogether. 

Felix would amass an impressive record, reaching 26-0-1 after just under five years. Whilst the opposition was largely average at best, this earned the Mexican a shot at the WBA Regular World Super Featherweight title. Felix would be edged out by Costa Rica’s Bryan Vazquez in a bout many felt Felix was victorious in. 

Following this, the Mexican would rebuild and go on another winning streak, beating a gaggle of solid if not inspiring opponents. This would lead to Felix’s first big main event outing against Peru’s Jonathan Maicelo. It was not a good night for the young fighter, who fell foul to the far more experienced Maicelo in a unanimous decision loss. Felix would be knocked down a whopping five times, but perhaps even more staggeringly would go on to win the majority of the rounds that he was not knocked down in. In fact, on two of the cards, the fight would have been scored a draw at five rounds apiece were it not for the knockdowns. 

Despite no doubt bringing entertainment, Felix would not receive the call to fight for Top Rank again off the back of his loss. Instead, he would return to fight in Mexico, picking up a win in a comeback fight before being knocked out by Marcos Villasana in a bout for a regional belt. 

Once again, Felix would return to winning ways before again losing, this time against highly touted Mexican counterpart Isaac Cruz via a 3rd round stoppage. 

Adversity has come in bunches for the Mexican, and sure enough, he’d face yet more difficulties as various instances including injury and the pandemic kept him out of the ring for two years. After comeback wins against Jesus Laguna and Adalberto Borquez Covarrubias, Felix would make his first appearance across the Atlantic. On the undercard of Michael Conlan v TJ Doheny in Belfast, he would go up against the solid and well respected British fighter, Tyrone McKenna. Sadly for Felix, he would be comfortably outscored in a unanimous decision loss. 

Now, Felix will return across the Atlantic, this time to Barcelona, Spain to face his toughest test yet. 

Sandor is a slick southpaw who proves difficult to hit and breaks down his opponents with stiff jabs. Whilst his power may not quite hold up at the higher levels, the Spaniard is able to prove allusive, whilst boxing well off of the back foot. 

The back foot is exactly where it will be expected Martin will be doing most of his work from, as he comes up against a typical Mexican style of pressure fighter. Felix will come forward looking to load up, with little to no regard for what is coming back. As such, despite this fight being a relative mismatch on paper, there is always danger when you are facing a fighter with a 66% knockout percentage across over 40 fights. 

Martin will arrive with a game plan to nullify the pressure fighter, and will surely refrain from being drawn into any kind of firefight. That being said, Martin will be wary of keeping the momentum from his previous win and making a statement against an inferior opponent, and as such may go in for the kill should the opportunity present itself. 

This, however, could favour Jose Felix, who will be looking to lure his opponent into a slugfest at all times. Should Martin be over-exuberant in trying to impress, you can bet that Felix will be looking to pounce and pick up the shock victory. 

However, with all things considered, this fight does appear to be somewhat of a mismatch that will serve only to keep Sandor Martin active and in the spotlight for when the 140lb belts become available. 

Martin will undoubtedly be looking to win and win well to prove to a new audience that his win against Mikey Garcia was no fluke. The title is merely there for ranking leverage, but should he emerge victorious, you would imagine he could be lined up for a huge bout for one of the vacant World Super-Lightweight titles. 

Meanwhile, a win for Felix would undoubtedly be a defining moment for his career, and should he pull off the shock he will likely secure himself another couple of good paydays with Matchroom or elsewhere. 

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