Julio Cesar Martinez got a very tough battle from challenger Jay Harris tonight in Texas, but the Mexican fighter continued his breakout run by successfully defending his WBC flyweight title, winning by unanimous decision in a hard-hitting contest.
Martinez (16-1, 12 KO) won on scores of 115-112, 116-111, and 118-109 over 12 rounds of action, with Harris falling to 17-1 (9 KO) in a valiant effort in defeat. Bad Left Hook had the fight 115-112 and 117-110 for Martinez.
Martinez, 25, just won the WBC title in December, beating Cristofer Rosales for the vacant belt in Phoenix. His quick turnaround didn’t seem to bother him in the ring, as he was his usual hard-charging, offensive-minded self.
But the 29-year-old Harris, coming over from Wales, gave a wonderful accounting of himself and especially his toughness. He didn’t try to fully avoid firefights with Martinez, though he was smart about it, and did plenty of his own offensive damage. That said, Martinez was clearly the harder puncher, hurting Harris early in the fight and proving capable of pushing back on the Welshman any time Harris got some momentum.
The fight’s lone knockdown came early in the 10th round, when Harris took a knee after a body shot. He not only got up and survived, but kept fighting back, proving himself as a genuine contender in the flyweight division despite coming up short on the night.
“It was a very tough battle, but I plan on defending my title many times, and there is no fear right here,” Martinez said through a translator. “He is a very strong fighter. But this is my title and I will defend it any time against anyone.”