Pick It: TBRB #5 Kiko Martinez vs. #7 Josh Warrington (Saturday, DAZN, 3:00 PM EST)

The first time they fought, in a 2017 non-title affair, Spain’s 36-year old Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KO) thought he did enough to win. The judges disagreed and Warrington went on to win the IBF featherweight belt two fights later. Things have changed. The 31-year old Warrington ultimately vacated the belt after three defenses, lost to Mauricio Lara, and enters without a win since 2019. Martinez looked like his best days were gone and then shocked the boxing world with a sixth round knockout of Kid Galahad to win the IBF belt. Martinez heads to Leeds, Warrington’s home turf, looking to keep his title and for a measure of revenge. Warrington is seeking to redirect his career back to championship ground. This could be the weekend’s most unpredictable affair.   

Additional Shows to Watch For

Friday - Seitzhanov vs. Enriquez (ESPN+, 11:00 AM EST)

It’s a clash of undefeated Jr. lightweights to kick off the weekend for US fight fans. Kazakhstan’s 23-year old Ray Seitzhanov (9-0, 6 KO) has home turf in his favor. Mexico’s 22-year old Jose Macias Enriquez (15-0-2, 7 KO) doesn’t know how to lose yet.

Friday - Gonzalez vs. Alejo (Estrella, 9:00 PM EST)

Flyweight action airs live from Mexico City. Mexico’s 22-year old Cristian Gonzalez (14-1, 4 KO) has won eight in a row since a split decision loss for his only blemish. 37-year old Juan Alejo (25-10-1, 14 KO) has lost four in a row and enters off a second round knockout loss. 

Saturday - #5 Berchelt vs. Nakathila (ESPN+, 7:00 PM EST) 

Soon fans will be treated to one of the best fights made so far in 2022, a Jr. lightweight unification bout between Oscar Valdez and Shakur Stevenson. Two of the men who had to fall to get to that bout will meet each other in the interim. Mexico’s 30 year old Miguel Berchelt (38-2, 34 KO) makes his first start since being stopped for the WBC strap by Valdez. Namibia’s 32-year old Jeremia Nakathila (22-2, 18 KO) has won once since a decision loss to Stevenson. 

Saturday - #4 Tszyu vs. Gausha (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)  

The son of one of history’s greatest Jr. welterweights, Kostya Tszyu, makes his US debut in the loaded Jr. middleweight division. Australia’s 27-year old Tim Tszyu (20-0, 15 KO) has matured and developed well as a professional and has a chance to make a global statement. 34-year old Terrell Gausha (22-2-1, 11 KO), a 2012 US Olympian, has losses to Erislandy Lara and Erickson Lubin and a draw versus Austin Trout. Tszyu is competing as much with those results as he is with Gausha in this one. Exciting lightweight Michel Rivera is also on what should be a good card. 

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com