Julio César Martínez has officially vacated his WBC flyweight title, announcing his decision to move up to the super flyweight division.

The 29-year-old brawler Martínez (21-3, 15 KO) made the announcement through a statement on the WBC’s website

“After careful reflection, I vacated the flyweight title to pursue new opportunities at super flyweight. This step will allow me to continue growing as a boxer and face new challenges. I am very grateful to the WBC for their support throughout my career,” Martínez said.

Martínez, a popular and charismatic champion managed by Eddy Reynoso (trainer of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez), last fought on March 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where he won a majority decision victory over previously-unbeaten Angelino Cordova on a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) card. It was his first fight on a PBC card after an extended run on Matchroom cards.

The move by Martínez follows Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez’s decision to vacate his IBF and WBO flyweight titles to return to the super flyweight division. Seigo Yuri Akui, the Japanese WBA titleholder, is the only current champion at flyweight at the present moment given this decision. 

Martínez emerged in 2019 when he knocked out Charlie Edwards, the older brother of Sunny Edwards, in London to win the WBC title, only to have the decision changed to a no-contest due to an illegal shot. He won a vacant WBC title fight against Cristofer Rosales later that year. This would lead to seven successful title defense across 1,626 days, or a 4 years, 5 month title reign. 

Despite his dominance, Martínez was not without his faults. He would miss weight and had setbacks. In the past four years, Martínez has had seven bouts canceled, the same number as his title defenses. His most infamous mistake was against Roman ‘Chocolatito’ González in 2022, when he fought at super flyweight (his new weight class) and missed weight. Martínez lost a one-sided unanimous decision to the future Hall of Famer and moved back down to flyweight.

The WBC has not yet announced a vacant title matchup. The top two contenders according to their rankings are No.1 ranked Angel Ayala (17-0, 7 KO) and No. 2 ranked Francisco Rodriguez Jr (38-6-1, 26 KO). Ayala has already been ordered to fight Dave Apolinario for the IBF vacant title, presenting a potential conflict. Cristofer Rosales (37-6, 22 KOs) currently occupies the No. 3 spot in the organization’s rankings.