Zelfa Barrett scored a controversial victory over Spanish veteran Kiko Martinez and it had the boxing world up in arms – including his own promoter Eddie Hearn.
Barrett, who is signed with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, put together a strong finish against the aggressive former world champion Martinez and claimed the win with a unanimous decision 118-111 118-111 and 116-113.
It was a career-best victory for Barrett but boxing fans and experts, including Hearn, were left fuming at the decision.
Watch Boxing Live & On-Demand on Kayo. Selected international fights, classic bouts and more. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >
“I thought 118-111 is absolutely disgusting for Kiko Martinez,” Hearn said.
“How are we gonna bring foreign fighters to this country when they get absolutely zero credit for their performance?
“118-111? He might as well not have bothered.
“For 12 rounds he was relentless. How are we going to bring world-class fighters to this country is we see scorecards like that?
“It wasn’t one [judge] it was two and we’ve seen them before. It doesn’t do me any favours, it doesn’t do Zelfa Barrett any favours and it doesn’t do Kiko Martinez any favours. These guys are putting their health, their life on the line, and after all that effort, he might as well have boxed off the back foot and had an easy night.
“I want to see it again, I want see Kiko Martinez get another chance because he deserves it.”
While Barrett was strong near the end, it appeared as if it was too late with Martinez setting the pace for most of the fight, causing his less experienced opponent to miss.
Meanwhile, Martinez threatened throughout and made a statement early, sending Barrett to the ropes in the second.
Barrett loomed late with hooks from both hands but even if he had the edge, it was still expected to be a close call.
Martinez agreed with Hearn that a rematch would be the best outcome.
“I don’t think the judges have been fair with me, I think, as Eddie says, the best outcome now would be a rematch,” Martinez said post-fight, per BoxingScene.
“I don’t think my opponent thought he won. It was a great fight that has possibly been tarnished by the result.”
Barrett insisted he would not back down from another fight with Martinez.
“It is what it is, we got the win,” Barrett added.
“It was close. I was in the fight and he was throwing and defending a lot. It depends how people want to see it, do they like to see pressure, do they like to see boxing?”
“I’m ready for the rematch. It has brought me on, I have learnt a lot for it. If it’s a rematch, it’s a rematch. I am not going to shy away. He’s a good fighter, you can’t take the credit away from him.