Leeds warrior Josh Warrington retains WBC international featherweight title against Kiko Martinez

PIC: James Hardisty
PIC: James Hardisty
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Josh Warrington scored a gruelling points win over Spaniard Kiko Martinez to retain his WBC international featherweight title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

The 26-year-old extended his unbeaten record to 25 fights with a dominant display against the former world title challenger, but had to settle for a majority decision victory.

PIC: James Hardisty

PIC: James Hardisty

Judge John Keane scored the fight a 114-114 draw but his fellow ringside judges favoured Warrington’s much cleaner work with 116-112 cards.

Warrington’s win was greeted by raucous acclaim from his home city fans, who had been earlier cheered Nicola Adams to a stoppage win in her second professional fight.

Amid a deafening atmosphere, Warrington acquitted himself well from the start, taking the first two rounds on work-rate alone in what promised to be tight and gruelling contest.

The doctor was called to take a close look at a lump on Martinez’s forehead at the start of the third, and the challenger responded by working to Warrington’s body with some degree of success.

PIC: James Hardisty

PIC: James Hardisty

But Warrington was still shading the exchanges with his cleaner and more powerful work, and he opened up again in the fourth with a good right which briefly seemed to sting Martinez.

A left late in the round reminded Warrington his opponent had no intention of going quietly, but as the bout reached the half-way mark the home favourite looked to be well in command on the cards.

Martinez was hampered by a cut from an apparent head clash midway through the eighth, although he had some of his better rounds in the later stages as he matched Warrington for work-rate.

Nevertheless there were some nervous moments when the scorecards were announced before Warrington could finally celebrate in front of his adoring - and relieved - fans.