Just Who Is Charles Martin?
By: Sean Crose
Okay, if you’re reading Boxing Insider, then it’s a pretty safe bet you KNOW who Charles Martin is. Still, the IBF world heavyweight champ remains a largely an unknown commodity – even as he prepares to step into the ring to defend his title against the widely lauded Anthony Joshua on Joshua’s own British soil on Saturday. Sure, a lot of people saw his victory earlier this year over Vyacheslav Glazkov, but Martin will still be entering the ring this weekend as a relatively huge question mark to international fight fans. Indeed, many are viewing him as a mere stepping stone for the undefeated Joshua as the Englishman makes his way along a brilliant career.
Are these people right, though? Is Martin that easy to brush off? Let’s look at the facts. For one thing Martin can hit. Really hit. His previous opposition may not have been phenomenal, but one simply doesn’t chalk off 21 knockouts in 23 wins to everyone out there having a glass chin. Check out the undefeated (the only thing close to blemish on his record is a draw to Alvaro Molares back in 2013) Martin’s straight left hand destruction of Vincente Sandez last year if you want to know what a good puncher looks like. While it’s certainly true the 15-0 Joshua can pack a wallop, Martin certainly can, too. That’s something to keep in mind.
Another notable trait of Martin’s is that the guy keeps active. In 2012 he fought three times. In 2013, eleven – that’s right, eleven – times. In 2014, five times. Then, in 2015, four times. Saturday will mark the second time the man has entered the ring this year – as a heavyweight titlist. That’s impressive for any fighter, much less one who has found himself atop boxing’s heap.
Of course there are things about Martin which lead some to question exactly how qualified the man is to hold a major title belt. For one thing, he certainly doesn’t have the Adonis-like physique of Joshua. In fact, there’s some flab to be found on the man’s frame – at least there has been in the past. Martin has also been known to throw punches at a rather slow pace. This is no Ali we’re talking about here. Lastly, there’s the matter of experience. Sure, Martin has gotten an impressive resume for himself, but against who? Glazkov was unquestionably a legitimate opponent, but who else has there been?
With all due respect to men like Rafael Pedro and Vashawn Tomlin, their names aren’t quite as telling as those of say, Luis Ortiz or Bryant Jennings, much less those of Tyson Fury or Wladimir Klitschko. That doesn’t bode well for the Carson, California native as he steps under the bright lights of top level competition. Then again, Joshua hasn’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of opposition, either. While Dillian Whyte was a solid enough foe, he’s pretty much the only truly formidable name (except for perhaps Gary Cornish) on the man’s resume. What’s more, Whyte gave Joshua a legit fight in their match last December – something to keep in mind.
So, now that we know who Charles Martin is, it’s time for us to all see what he’s made of. Saturday in London should be quite indicative…of both he and his opponent’s true skill levels.
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