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Julio Cesar Martinez planning July return, September unification

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Martinez defeated Jay Harris in February for his first successful title defense

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez recently fought five times in the span of 13 months, and he’s not about to let the coronavirus slow him down for long. Trainer Mauricio Aceves tells ESPN Deportes that he’s been told to be ready for a July return, after which “Rey” hopes to unify with IBF champion Moruti Mthalane in September, ideally as part of a Canelo Alvarez undercard.

The 25-year-old Martinez (16-1, 12 KO) has emerged as one of the most entertaining fighters in the entire sport, offering truly remarkable levels of aggression and stopping power. After a breakout knockout of Andrew Selby, Martinez missed out on the WBC title after landing a shot on a downed Charlie Edwards, only to batter Cristofer Rosales into submission for the vacant belt in December. Just two months later, he went to the judges for the first time in almost a dozen fights in a terrific scrap with unbeaten Jay Harris.

Martinez recently stated his desire to unify with either Mthalane (39-2, 26 KO) or Kosei Tanaka; with Tanaka pursuing WBO super flyweight champ Kazuto Ioka, that leaves South Africa’s “Babyface” in the crosshairs. Mthalane has not tasted defeat since falling to a rising Nonito Donaire in 2008 and still looks sharp at 37, defeating Muhammad Waseem for the belt in 2018 and successfully defending it three times.

Travel might be an issue for the South African Mthalane, but hopefully that’ll prove easier to manage by September. This would be a terrific fight.