Super middleweight Lester Martinez hopes victory over Carlos Gongora will establish him as a top contender.

Martinez and Gongora will co-feature on Friday night’s card in Washington, D.C., headlined by Lamont Roach Jr. against Feargal McCrory, broadcast on ProBox TV.

Martinez, who trains with the “three-headed monster” team of Brian “Bomac” McIntyre, Red Spikes and Esau Dieguez, started camp in Omaha, Nebraska, and is finishing in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dieguez noted that Martinez is “training hard.”

Martinez (17-0, 15 KOs), 28, from Guatemala, will be fighting for the second time in 2024 and against his highest-rated opponent to date, Gongora (22-2, 17 KOs). The 35-year-old Ecuadorian contender Gongora has only two losses on his record: one to Lerrone Richards in 2021 and another to Christian Mbilli, a surging slugger ranked No. 2 by the WBC and WBA, and No. 3 by the WBO and IBF. An impressive performance from Martinez could lead to talks of a fight against the likes of Mbilli.

“Winning this fight would mean a lot to me because he’s a world-class fighter,” said Martinez via translator. “It’s an opportunity toward winning a world title.”

Before the fight announcement, Gongora had considered training with the team best known for working with Terence Crawford. However, it didn’t materialize, and both sides know the other has been working hard.

“For this fight, I’m coming with aggression, physicality and technique to get the win and to get my name out there,” said Martinez. “I want to demonstrate that I’m a well-rounded fighter.”

Given the depth of the super middleweight division and the recent absence of David Benavidez and David Morrell, there are opportunities – despite all four world title belts being held by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Fighters like Mbilli, William Scull and Vladimir Shishkin are closer than ever to a title shot. Martinez is optimistic that victory over Gongora could lead to that type of chance.

“This win would be good preparation,” said Martinez. “It would look real good on my resume for a world title shot.”

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