Ryan Martin believes in making the most of second opportunities.

Martin walked away from his loss to Josh Taylor with a bad taste in his mouth and hopes an impressive win over a former world titleholder will leave boxing fans with the impression that he can still contend in a very competitive junior welterweight division.

The once-beaten Martin will face Robert Easter tonight at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The 10-round bout will precede the welterweight bout between Adrien Broner and Jovanie Santiago, along with the heavyweight clash between Dominic Breazeale and Otto Wallin.

All three fights will air live on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

Martin (24-1, 14 knockouts), who was born in Akron, Ohio, suffered the first loss of his career to Taylor in November 2018 in the first round of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) junior welterweight tournament. In what was anticipated as a competitive fight on paper between two unbeaten fighters, Taylor dominated the action, dropping Martin once en route to a knockout win in round 7.

The 27-year-old was out of the ring for over a year and a half, finally returning to action on June 27, stopping journeyman Carlos Winston Velasquez after round 6. In his last bout on October 16, Martin knocked out Hevinson Herrera in the opening round.

Martin is glad he is back in the spotlight tonight, but understands the skepticism of fans who may base their opinion of him solely from the Taylor fight.

“I take nothing away from Josh Taylor that night,” Martin told BoxingScene over the phone Thursday. “He was the better man. He came out victorious. He’s a top fighter. It wasn’t my night, my week, my month.

“It was great to be back in the ring. I needed those two (comeback) fights to shake off the ring rust and acclimate myself with a new trainer (Mark Ferrait). We worked a lot on aggression and just letting my hands go.”

Martin will face a fighter in Easter (22-1-1, 14 KOs), who resides in Toledo, Ohio. Easter made his debut at 140 pounds in his last bout in October 2019, defeating Adrian Granados by unanimous decision.

The clash between Martin and Easter is a compelling one between once-beaten fighters with the winner taking a step forward in a talent-rich division. Martin is confident he will be victorious and will let his hands do the talking at the expense of Easter.

“I’m going to let my hands do the explaining (tonight),” said Martin, who is managed by Garry Jonas. “I’m not going to say anything other than I’m going to be more aggressive and be powerful.”

Martin was originally signed by rap mogul 50 cent, who had a brief stint as a promoter. Martin was not able to land fights often and when the promotional company dissolved was represented by Tom Loeffler.

Hoping to seize on this second opportunity, Martin is confident he can become a major player at 140 pounds. A win over Easter could put Martin back where he was before the Taylor fight. He is confident doors will open with fights on major platforms, becoming a legitimate contender and eventually getting a rematch against Taylor.

“After (tonight), I would think a win would put me in the top 10,” said Martin. “I hope it puts me in a position where I can get that rematch against Taylor. The person that was fighting Taylor that night was not me. I went through a lot leading up to the fight. Now I know I can let my hands go and be aggressive. I have a clear mind (going into the Easter fight) with no distractions.

“I’m looking forward to going in there and represent for Chattanooga (Tennessee). Win, lose, or draw, they’ve always been behind me. I want to win this fight for them.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.