Charlie Edwards makes the second defence of his WBC flyweight World title at the O2 Arena this Saturday, taking on Julio Cesar Martinez Aguilar on the undercard of Vasyl Lomachenko vs Luke Campbell.
This will be Edwards’ second defence of the green-and-gold belt he claimed in an emotional unanimous decision win over Nicaragua’s Cristofer Rosales (29-4) back in December. He defeated Angel Moreno, also via unanimous decision in March, but the prospect of facing Martinez will represent yet a further step up in class.
The Mexican is on a 14-fight winning streak which dates back to March 2016. His only defeat occurred during his pro-debut, where he lost via split decision against Joaquin Cruz (5-0). Of those 14 victories, he has 11 stoppages, indicating to all that he carries significant power at this weight.
His last victory was a surprise 5th round stoppage over highly-considered Welsh prospect Andrew Selby, in a final eliminator which earned him Saturday’s opportunity against Edwards. He also boasts a unanimous decision victory over Mexico’s experienced, former-super-strawweight world champion, Edgar Sosa (52-10), suggesting that he has therefore combined technical ability with his aforementioned power.
Edwards’ (15-1) only defeat dates back to 2016, losing via a 10th round TKO to John Riel Casimero in a challenge for the latter’s IBF world flyweight title; a challenge that many regarded at the time as being a premature step up for the Epsom man.
In the prefight build-up, Aguilar has commented that he also intends to stop Edwards, handing him a second KO loss, but this prospect, or his challenger’s prediction seemingly hasn’t fazed the champion,
“His style works perfectly for me; it plays into my hands. He’s already told me that he’s going to knock me out. But when he doesn’t, things are going to get very tough for him, and if he’s coming in with that mentality is shows he’s underrating me already and that is not a good place to be.”
“He can bang, there’s no doubt about it. He can rough you up, but that’s good as he’s going to bring the best out in me." Edwards told reporters, keen to highlight his own development.
"I’m a lot stronger and a lot tougher now. You could tell that he was blowing a little bit against Selby, but fitness has never been an issue for me. Fitness and rounds are my strongest attributes and I’m ready and looking forward to dragging him into the deep trenches. I will bully the bully.”
Edwards has indeed improved since he became champion. His consummate defence last-time-out against Angel Moreno (19-4-2) was testament to that. He has gone the championship distance twice in his last two outings, whereas Martinez has never fought beyond the 8th round. This will also be his first fight outside of Mexico.
Either way, all these little quirks and narratives will play a decisive role in the eventual outcome on Saturday night. We know that Martinez believes he will win inside the distance.
Edwards is yet to give an exact prediction on how and when he believes the fight will end,
“I am the WBC world champion, and nobody is beating me." he expressed to reporters
"On Saturday, I am going to retain my world title with a punch-perfect performance.”
On Saturday night, one of these men will be proven correct.