KIKO MARTINEZ has announced his retirement from boxing.

After a career spanning 19 years the 37-year-old Spaniard finishes with a record of 44-12-2 (31). His final fight came in April against Reiya Abe. The Japanese featherweight bested the veteran over 12 rounds earning a wide unanimous decision.

‘La Sensacion’ (The Sensation) notched up many air miles over the years with 24 of his fights taking place overseas. The first of which earned him his first notable win when he travelled to Dublin to face Bernard Dunne on August 25, 2007. Martinez, sporting a full head of hair, needed just over 90 seconds to break Irish hearts and remove the European super-bantamweight title from Dunne. It was also a demonstration of the Spaniard’s renowned punching power which would go on to serve him well.

Martinez also fought in South Africa, France, Argentina, Japan, and the UK where 11 of his fights took place against Rendall Munroe (twice), Carl Frampton (twice), Dougie Curran, Scott Quigg, Josh Warrington (twice), Zelfa Barrett, Kid Galahad and Jordan Gill. However, it would not be a happy hunting ground for Martinez who lost on eight occasions but won against Curran, Galahad, and Gill.

“The time has come. Thank you to everyone!” Martinez wrote on Instagram where he also posted a retirement announcement video in Spanish.

Warrington, who stopped Martinez in their rematch in March 2022, replied, “Congratulations Kiko on a fantastic career. It was an honour to share the ring with you on both occasions. Wish you all the best in the future my friend. A real fighting man.”

Matchroom Boxing, Maxi Hughes, Ellie Scotney, Shane McGuigan, Darren Barker, Kane Baker and Sandor Martin posted their own well wishes.

Frampton also paid tribute on Twitter saying, “Spain’s greatest ever fighter. I’ve a lot of respect for the majority of my opponents but none more than @MartinezKiko. Enjoy your retirement Campeón.”

Having won the European 122lbs belt for a second time Martinez ventured to Belfast in February 2013 to make his third defence against Frampton where ‘The Jackal’ won by ninth round stoppage. Martinez, as so often he would, bounced back to become the IBF world champion after beating Jonathan Romero before dispatching of Jeffrey Mathebula and Hozumi Hasegawa during a busy period. But Frampton would stop his march once again by beating his old adversary in a far closer encounter 19 months on from their first.

Martinez moved to featherweight and became a two-weight European champion but found Gary Russell Jr a step too far when challenging for world honours at 130lbs in May 2019.

A hugely controversial loss to Zelfa Barrett in February 2021 was softened when Martinez returned to the UK once again to thump Kid Galahad in six rounds and become IBF featherweight champion at the age of 35. The rollercoaster continued when he was stopped by Warrington in the seventh round of his first title defence before halting Jordan Gill in four rounds in his third consecutive visit to the UK.

The career of Kiko Martinez was filled with drama, action, knockdowns and overall, one that will not be forgotten any time soon. Everyone at Boxing News wishes ‘La Sensacion’ a happy retirement.