By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Southpaw speedster IBF#3 Reiya Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs), 125.75, easily defeated former world champ IBF#7 Kiko Martinez (44-12-2, 31 KOs), 125.25, by winning a unanimous decision (119-109 twice,117-111) over twelve monotonous rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. Abe, ex-Japanese champ, 30, had the upper hand almost all the way against the slower and sluggish Spaniard, 37, who looked to fail to bring his fighting spirit and zip from Spain. He was just a shell of the old Kiko, who previous halted our hero Hozumi Hasegawa in 2014. Kiko kept stalking the Japanese footworker only to absorb his southpaw counters to have the nose bridge bleeding from the fifth on. Abe wasn’t as sharp as usual, but was an obvious winner since Kiko was least aggressive. The ref was Albert Earl Brown.
Who is Reiya Abe? He is a smart and tricky southpaw speedster, if not a hard-puncher. It was in 2017 that Reiya established his name by upsetting Filipino Joe Misako Noynay and then world-rated three-time world challenger Satoshi Hosono both on points. Since then, Abe has been a perennial world contender. Abe, however, failed to win the Japanese national feather belt twice in 2019 as he drew with Taiki Minamoto and lost a hairline decision to Ryo Sagawa. Abe, since then, scored five victories in a row including an important triumph over world-rated Hinata Maruta, winning the national and WBO AP 126-pound belts as well. Now that he decked an important victory over Kiko Martinez in the IBF eliminator, Abe will be given a world title shot against defending champ Jesus Alberto Lopez of Mexico, who is slated to defend his IBF belt against Michael Conlan in Belfast on May 27.
Promoter: Teiken Promotions.