By Jake Donovan
Given the direction of the sport and the untapped market from where boxing stars are being produced these days, Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin has every reason to be excited about his future.
The unbeaten former amateur standout—now 11-0 (6KOs) as a pro—already has one ring appearance in the books, with two more scheduled in the span of four weeks.
Martin returns to the ring on April 11, appearing on the undercard portion of Orlando Salido’s 130 lb. title defense versus former titlist and local favorite Roman “Rocky” Martinez on an independent Pay-Per-View card live from San Juan, Puerto Rico. With a win and an injury-free performance, the lightweight prospect will resurface on May 9 in Houston.
His placement on the show comes as a combination of his talent and his alliance with 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions, also the promoter for James Kirkland who goes up against boxing superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their HBO headliner.
While neither fight for garner live TV coverage for Martin (the April 11 appearance will likely air via same-day tape delay), the benefit of appearing in a venue where network brass will be on hand means he moves one step closer to bringing his story to the forefront.
For a fighter who was born and raised in Chattanooga and now training out of Cleveland—neither location among the first on anyone’s list when boxing hotbeds are discussed, though Chattanooga far less so—every little bit of exposure goes a long way towards his development and confidence.
“Chattanooga may not be big on boxing but I have a large reception there,” acknowledges Martin, who trains in Cleveland with his camp, led by manager Tim VanNewhouse. “My brother led me into a gym when I was 7 years old and I never left. It’s been instilled in my heart since I was knee high.
“If it weren’t for the community support and my amateur boxing program, I wouldn’t have made it this far.”
An active in-ring campaign is planned for 2015 before Martin is taken to the next level. By September, the 22-year young prospect will have completed two years in the pro ranks. Time still remains very much in his favor, though he already envisions a future emulating the success of some of his boxing peers while penning his own story.
“Soon, everyone will learn how great Chattanooga is,” Martin promises, pointing to the success of 2014 Fighter of the Year Terence Crawford as proof that where you’re from doesn’t need to dictate where you can go. “The same way the boxing world all learned about Omaha Nebraska (through Crawford), I will do my part to put Chattanooga on the map.”
Opponents for each of Martin’s next two fights are still being sought.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox