With contracts signed and only the date and exact venue left to finalize, Akihiko Honda of Teiken Promotions, Gary Shaw Productions, Maravilla Box Promotions and Sampson Boxing are proud to announce that exciting IBF Junior Featherweight Champion Kiko "La Sensación" Martinez (30-4, 22 KOs) will make the second defense of his title in April against former two-time world champion Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan.
27-year-old Martinez became the country of Spain's first-ever world champion at 122 pounds by rising from obscurity to stop heavily favored Jonathan Romero in dramatic fashion in August of 2013. In his first defense, he announced his rightful place among the elite by defeating also-favored South African Jeffrey Mathebula by ninth-round knockout. A hero in his homeland despite the nation's refusal to televise his fights, Martinez is managed World Middleweight Champion Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez, no relation.
33-year-old southpaw Hasegawa, a former champion at featherweight and bantamweight, will be dropping down in weight to face Martinez and vie for his coveted third world title. He won the WBC Bantamweight Championship in 2005 and made 10 successful defenses, and then picked up the WBC Featherweight Championship in 2010.
The important showdown should be a nail biter, as the smooth-boxing Hasegawa has developed a habit of fighting his way to a lead in big fights, only to run into trouble when caught by hard punches... a trait which may not bode well for him against the heavy-handed and relentless Martinez.
All promoters say they exact date and venue will be announced very shortly.