Wilder vs Breazeale: Gary Russell Jr defends WBC crown after Kiko Martinez is stopped on cuts
Gary Russell Jr turns on the style against Kiko Martinez in fourth defence of WBC featherweight crown
By Peter Gilbert
Last Updated: 19/05/19 7:08am
Gary Russell Jr stopped Kiko Martinez on cuts to retain his WBC featherweight title on the undercard of Deontay Wilder-Dominic Breazeale at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Russell secured his 30th career win when the referee waved off the fight in the fifth round on the advice of the doctor after the Spanish veteran suffered a badly cut eye.
The American southpaw, whose sole career defeat was on points to pound-for-pound star Vasyl Lomachenko in 2014, said afterwards he wanted to face WBA champion Leon Santa Cruz in a unification fight next.
"We want Leo Santa Cruz. We want to make that fight happen," said Russell.
"The fire's all the way hot on this side of the field. You will get burnt. I would love for that fight to happen this year. If we can get that fight, that's the fight we want."
Russell turned on the style against the 50-fight veteran in the second round, opening up a cut around the challenger's left-eye and rocking the Spaniard with a heavy left hook towards the end of the round.
Martinez, who was beaten by Josh Warrington on points last year, continued to march forward but his bravery was no match for the champion's superior hand speed and movement.
Russell began to string together hurtful combinations in the third and caught his fellow 33-year-old with a uppercut in the fourth.
Martinez tagged Russell with a right in the fifth but with blood pouring down his face referee Ricky Gonzalez stopped the fight to consult with the ringside doctor before calling a halt on the 1:10 mark of the fifth round.