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Santa Cruz vs Martinez: Leo Santa Cruz retains WBC belt with fifth round stoppage

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Leo Santa Cruz successfully defended his WBC featherweight title with an all-action win over Kiko Martinez.

Harry How/Getty Images

It was an all-out war, even if largely one-sided, as Leo Santa Cruz retained his WBC featherweight title against a gritty Kiko Martinez tonight at the Honda Center in Anaheim, live on Showtime Championship Boxing.

Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KO) dropped Martinez two times in the first round, but the Spaniard soldiered on both times, and refused to take a step back at any point in the fight. Shorter and lacking the ability to control a safe distance, Martinez (35-7, 26 KO) instead just bullrushed his way in the entire fight, doing some good work of his own, but never really leading the pace of the fight.

Santa Cruz threw his usual ton of punches -- including an astronomical 140 in the opening round -- and though Martinez did his best to meet the pace, Santa Cruz began to work his way around the ring, putting his back to the ropes, and slipping away to reset things. The pace did slow after the first two rounds, since it basically had to, but it was a brutal fight from start to finish.

The finish came in the fifth round, when Santa Cruz clipped Martinez, put him in the corner, and unloaded a blitzing flurry of shots. Martinez tried to work his way out, but eventually just had to cover up. Referee Raul Caiz Sr gave Martinez chances, but had to step in to stop the fight, and Martinez did not protest.