When it comes to boxing, we see the same countries dominating year after year.
The Americans have held the top welterweight spots for decades with Floyd Mayweather, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence to name a few.
The Brits have taken over the heavyweight division in recent years, with Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte sitting atop boxing‘s glamorous division, with Fury and Whyte due to fight on April 23.
Asian countries have taken over the lighter weight with 12 of the world title belts between strawweight and bantamweight held by fighters from Japan, Thailand and the Philippines.
We even regularly see accolades and accolades for boxers from Ukraine, Cuba, Russia and of course Mexico.
Outside of the UK, Western Europe has never really challenged the usual suspects when it comes to the balance of power in boxing, but that could be about to change.
Over the past year, Spain has become a real talent pool for boxers and a potential star country for boxing in Western Europe.
Here, talkSPORT takes a look at three of those to watch.
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Martinez is no stranger to boxing fans. He’s been on the scene for a long time and he’s faced some of the best fighters of his day, including Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg.
At 36, and after suffering a hugely controversial loss to Zelfa Barrett last year, with many fans and pundits believing Martinez had done enough to win, it looked like the Spaniard’s career would come to a natural end.
That was not to be the case, however, as Martinez returned to the ring late last year, taking on Kid Galahad in his own Sheffield backyard and ‘La Sensacion’ scoring a knockout of the year. to win the IBF featherweight world title.
Now he’s moving on to another huge arena fight in the UK, this time with his old nemesis, Josh Warrington, and he’s hoping to pull off a similar upset to his last fight.
Martinez isn’t the only Spaniard capable of causing an upset, which became clear when we saw Sandor Martin leave Spain for just the third time in his 41-fight career to face the four-weight world champion, Mikey Garcia.
Not many people gave Martin a chance in the 2021 showdown and there was even some disappointment among fans pre-fight that Garcia picked an opponent that was too easy.
Nobody expected what happened next, as Martin boxed perfectly, perfectly executing his game plan to win by majority decision on the judges’ scorecards and place among the elite at 140 pounds.
Just below world level, Lejarraga has made progress, recovering well from back-to-back defeats at the hands of David Avanesyan in 2019 to mount a six-game winning streak.
Last year Lejarraga beat Dylan Charrat to win the European title and followed that up with a defense against Bolton’s Jack Flatley.
The Spaniard now sits third in the WBA super welterweight rankings and he is set to face Liverpool’s James Metcalf on May 20 in Bilbao.
The winner of this fight will be in excellent position to fight for the WBA title at 154 pounds early next year.
So if Spain wasn’t previously a country on your boxing radar, keep an eye out this year and you might be surprised.
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