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Julio Cesar Martinez to defend WBC title against Jay Harris on Feb. 29

Martinez overpowered Cristofer Rosales to claim the WBC flyweight belt earlier this month

Vasiliy Lomachenko v Luke Campbell - The O2 Arena Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Newly crowned WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez Jr. has fought eight times in the past two years and now looks poised to push a similar pace in 2020. He’ll make his inaugural title defense on February 29th, facing WBC #7 Jay Harris on the Mikey Garcia-Jessie Vargas card in Frisco.

“Rey” Martinez (15-1, 12 KO) was perhaps the breakout star of the lower weight classes last year. Two months after opening 2019 with a gimme win in his native Mexico, he upset Andrew Selby with a vicious body shot to earn a crack at WBC champion Charlie Edwards. He then spent three rounds mauling Edwards in similar fashion, only to walk away with a no contest after hitting his man while he was down.

When Edwards forewent the rematch and vacated the title, Martinez took on one of its former owners in Cristofer Rosales, whom he battered into submission over nine rounds. The 24-year-old is young, hugely entertaining, and under the tutelage of a top-notch trainer in Eddy Reynoso. Sky seems to be the limit.

Harris (17-0. 9 KO) is a former European and Commonwealth champ who only recently began facing noteworthy opposition. Last June saw him take a decision over former title challenger Angel Moreno, after which he beat Paddy Barnes into retirement in October.

Happy to see Martinez back in action, though I’m still searching for the right dark god to pray to to make a unification with Kosei Tanaka happen.

Kal Yafai vs Roman Gonzalez and Murat Gassiev’s heavyweight debut are both in the works for the card as well.

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