Pressed with the choice of hoping for a second shot at an Olympic run, Javier Martinez has opted to forgo the process altogether and take his talents to the professional ranks.
The top-rated middleweight in the United States amateur program has opted to turn pro, signing with manager Tim VanNewhouse as the latest member of the growing Split-T Management stable. The decision comes in lieu of serving as an alternate on the 2020 U.S. Olympic boxing team which is tentatively due to compete next year in Tokyo.
Martinez was an odds-on favorite not only to land a spot but to medal in the now-rescheduled summer classic, as evidenced by his championship run in the Olympic Trials. Instead, he became one of three such boxers who failed to earn an automatic place on the team due to the questionable selection process recently adopted by USA Boxing.
The ills of amateur boxing politics were enough for the 23-year old southpaw from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to instead abandon the scene altogether.
“Being a casualty of the new Olympic selection process just makes me that much more determined,” insists Martinez, a first-generation Mexican-American and five-time U.S. National champion who will compete as a super middleweight as a pro. “I am going to show, time and time again why I was deserving of that spot.
“That said, I am excited to turn professional and this is the perfect situation. Tim came at me with a good plan for my future and I have a great feeling about him and the whole Split-T family.”
Martinez was born in Milwaukee to immigrant parents who relocated from Palos Altos, Mexico. Taking up the sport at age eight, he quickly took the sport and eventually adopted an aggressive, fan-friendly style which should provide a smooth transition to the pros.
“Javier has good physical attributes standing at 6'1". He has a fan-friendly, pressure style, who stalks his opponents behind a tight defense with well-selected combinations,” notes VanNewhouse, who adds another blue-chip prospect to his growing roster. “He enjoys investing in the body and shows a nice blend of aggression and power.
“Javier is a fundamentally complete fighter with balance, power and mobility. That is why there were so many people trying to recruit him. Javier's the type of athlete that will be placed on a fast track and debut in a six-round bout. He willl soon be paired with one of the best promoters in the world, and I can't wait to see him on TV soon.”
Martinez and VanNewhouse first hooked up at the Olympic Trials last December in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Doing future business together from that point onward became a no-brainer, with the Cleveland-based manager also signing amateur standouts Kahshad Elliott, Dalis Kaleiopu and Marcus Valle from that same competition.
The quartet join an impressive roster of young talent. VanNewhouse also guides the careers of a pair of unbeaten middleweight prospects in 19-year old Diego Pacheco (9-0, 7KOs) and Tyler Howard (18-0, 11KOs), along with rising welterweight Brian Ceballo (18-0, 11KOs), red-hot junior lightweight Abraham Nova (18-0, 14KOs0 and Brian ‘Bomac’ McIntyre-trained lightweight hopeful Damon Allen (16-1-1, 5KOs).
Given the manager’s eye for scouting talent, Martinez never gave a second thought as to his forthcoming pro career being in the right hands.
“I want to make something big out of boxing and provide a better life for myself and family - especially my son,” notes Martinez, who is the proud father to a seven-year old. “At this point of my life, I feel that Split-T will move me the right way and guide me into becoming a world champion.”
Details of Martinez’ pro debut and eventual promotional affiliation are due to be revealed in the near future.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox