By Keith Idec
Charles Martin is ready to take the next step in his comeback.
The former IBF heavyweight champion’s manager, Mike Borao, told BoxingScene.com that he intends to match Martin against a top-15 contender in his next fight, probably early in the fall. Martin produced his second knockout win Tuesday night since embarking on his comeback earlier this year.
Martin (25-1-1, 23 KOs), of Carson, California, dropped Mike Marrone twice in the first round on his way to a knockout victory at Rapides Coliseum in Alexandria, Louisiana. Marrone (21-8, 15 KOs) was unable to get up from Martin’s left hand to the body and lost a fourth straight bout by knockout.
The 6-feet-5, 255-pound Martin has shown improvement in these two fights with his new trainer, Javan “Sugar” Hill, who also trains WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) and former WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 KOs). Borao also sees a motivated Martin who is eager to bounce back from a second-round knockout loss to unbeaten IBF/IBO/WBA champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) 15 months ago at 02 Arena in London.
That devastating defeat to England’s Joshua marked the start of a tumultuous time in Martin’s life.
Martin underwent emergency surgery after he was shot in the right forearm during an unsolved incident August 2 in downtown Los Angeles. The 31-year-old contender also posted several alarming videos on social media last summer.
Now that he is in a better place personally and professionally, the powerful southpaw wants nothing more than to earn a chance to avenge that infamous loss to Joshua.
“I still believe that when Charles is at his best, he can beat anybody,” Borao said. “And Charles now wants to prove that more than ever. If you know boxing, you know he’s not taking these fights for the money. He’s taking them because he wants to get back to 100 percent. Next fight out, when we fight a top-15 opponent, you’ll see him just about there. And when he’s there, he’s unbeatable.
“He wants to prove that to everyone. That’s his motivation. And he understands that he’s gonna have to win another belt to lure Joshua back [for a rematch]. That’s all he cares about – winning another title, so that he can fight Joshua again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.