Charles Martin haunted by loss to Anthony Joshua but upbeat about future

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  • Anthony Joshua
    Anthony Joshua
    English boxer
  • Luis Ortiz
    Cuban boxer

It’s been more than five years since then-heavyweight titleholder Charles Martin was steamrolled by Anthony Joshua in one-plus rounds.

Martin is focused at the moment on his pay-per-view fight against Luis Ortiz on Saturday but the setback against Joshua is always near the forefront of his mind. He won’t be able to truly move on until he gets another crack at his conqueror.

He told Boxing Junkie that he’d fight Joshua without getting paid. And he seemed to be serious.

“I’m going to knock him out,” Martin said. “All you have to do is set it up. The rest will happen.”

Why not just move on from the disappointment? Because, he says, people have the wrong idea of why he was overwhelmed by Joshua.

Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) said he had injured his ribs during training for the biggest bout of his career yet tried to fight through it. Come fight time he was focused more on his vulnerability than the monumental task at hand, which gave him no chance to be competitive.

“When your ribs are f—ed up10 days before the fight, all you can think about is, if I get hit in that area, I’m done,” he said. “The first punch that landed there, I said, ‘F—!’ The whole situation was bad. I never had to fight with that kind of injury.

“It was the biggest fight of my life and I never felt that bad.”

Martin ended up going down twice from right hands to the head in Round 2 of the fight on April 9, 2016 at O2 Arena in London, failing to beat the count the second time.

“I never got a fair shake, with all that embarrassment and s— that happened,” Martin said. “… I need to set the record straight. I’m a better fighter than that.”

We’ll get a good idea of how good Martin is when he steps into the ring to face Ortiz at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Martin is 4-1 since the setback against Joshua, with only a close decision loss to Adam Kownacki in September 2018. He has won three in a row since, including an impressive sixth-round knockout of Gerald Washington in February of last year.

Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) is a step up for Martin, though. The Miami-based Cuban is 42 but hasn’t shown significant signs of slowing down. He can box and he can crack.

“He’s dangerous,” Martin said. “The last thing to go with a fighter is his power. He’ll always be dangerous. I just gotta be careful, keep my eyes on him, never take my eyes off him.”

Neither man has fought recently. Ortiz was last in the ring in November of last year, when he stopped Alexander Flores in 45 seconds. For Martin, it’s been almost two years since he met Washington.

Since then, ongoing negotiations with the handlers of Deontay Wilder never produced a fight. And other potential opportunities – including a meeting with Andy Ruiz Jr. – never materialized, leaving Martin to play the waiting game.

However, that doesn’t mean he lost focus on his mission. He and advisor Mike Borao insist the 35-year-old resident of the Los Angeles area lives in the gym when he’s not spending time with his growing family.

They say he’s never out of shape.

“Charles arrived at camp [for the Ortiz fight] weighing 250 pounds and he’ll fight at 250 pounds,” Borao said.

Martin said he’s ready – physically and mentally – to prove that he’s not the fighter who folded against Joshua.

“I’ve always known I could be a two-time world champion,” he said. “[Winning the IBF title against Vyacheslav Glazkov] wasn’t a mistake. … We’re ready to shock the world, ready to go on an amazing run.”

Who knows? Maybe that’ll include another shot at the former opponent he thinks about every day.