Jose Martinez fighting for family, Puerto Rico

From ESPN - November 15, 2017

As Puerto Rico struggles to overcome the devastation of Hurricane Maria, junior bantamweight Jose "Chiquiro" Martinez is battling in the boxing ring to provide a better life for his family. The son of a farmer, he grew up poor in Las Marias, a small town in the hills of the east-central part of the island.

"I come from a very humble and hard situation," said the 25-year-old Martinez, "and I decided to become a boxer to give my family a better future."

The dire situation in his homeland has given Martinez (19-0-1, 12 KOs) additional incentive.

"All Puerto Ricans are in a very difficult situation now -- it's really, really hard," Martinez said. "It's something that we have never had before. But Puerto Ricans are warriors. We fight for our goals, and I know we will rise again."

Martinez, who grew up watching national hero Felix "Tito" Trinidad box on TV, takes the next step toward his objective when he faces southpaw Jesus "El Sargento" Martinez on Thursday in a scheduled 10-rounder at Poliforum Benito Juarez in Cancun, Mexico (ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2; 11:30 p.m., tape delay).

It will be "Chiquiro" fifth fight outside of Puerto Rico. In November 2015, he won a unanimous 10-round decision over Oscar Mojica in Las Vegas. A trio of 2013 bouts in Santo Domingo netted knockout victories of Ramon Emilio Cedano, Eduardo Melendez and Domingo Berroa.

"I am going to perform on ESPN, a network where everyone in the world will see me," Jose said. "I am highly motivated to give a great performance and have a great win for Puerto Rico, my hometown Las Marias, and my people. I am very excited to have this opportunity."

Jesus Martinez is hoping to rebound after being stopped by Luis Nery in a WBC title eliminator last March.

"This fight is at my natural weight -- 115 pounds," he said. "My two loses were both at 118 pounds."

Prior to the Nery setback, the 35-year-old Martinez (23-2, 11 KOs) tallied solid wins over Jonathan Burgos, Angel Berrio and Miguel Martinez.


Continue reading at ESPN »