Martin talks the talk but still has plenty to prove with Joshua in way
CHARLES MARTIN is the man with the belt ahead of his world heavyweight championship contest with Britain’s Anthony Joshua, but he talks the talk of the disgruntled underdog.
The Missouri native was handed his opportunity to emerge from relative obscurity last month when the IBF, having stripped Tyson Fury of their version of the title, pitched him in with Vyacheslav Glazkov and saw the Ukrainian injure his knee, permitting the third round TKO which crowned Martin’s surprising rise to prominence.
The 29-year-old does not boast the amateur credentials of Olympic champion Joshua, though, and had not pulled up too many trees in building up a record of 22 wins and one draw before the Glazkov contest.
Unlike Joshua, he was not being groomed for greatness. His rise came almost as much by accident as design. He knows it and he wants some of the adulation and hype that has surrounded the current Commonwealth, British and WBO International champion since he decided to enter the paid ranks in the wake of his success at London 2012.
“I want what he’s got – the praise, the attention and the fans,” said Martin as the pair faced off in London at a promotional event on Friday.
“I will be here on April 9 to put on a show and show everyone why I’m world heavyweight champion. Ain’t nobody taking it from me.
“He’s an Olympic gold medallist, but I don’t think he’s ready for what I’m bringing: power, a lot of power. He’s a big hype job over here and I’m coming to take his fans.
Joshua’s own rise has certainly been swift. He has only 15 professional contests under his belt, all successfully negotiated within the distance, with his last victory – a seventh-round finish of fellow Brit, Dillian Whyte in December – propelling him towards his date with destiny at the O2 Arena in London.
He accepts he is still raw but insists he is not being elevated to this level prematurely.
“Tyson took 28 fights [before fighting for the world title], Ali took 20, I think Lennox Lewis was 24,” he said.
“I don’t think they were ever thrown in the deep end like I was.
“Some will say it is too soon, but I have to do what I feel is right.
“I’ve been in the Olympics, big British dust-ups, I’ve gone through these feelings, these emotions, these expectations.
“The reason I’m here so soon is because of what I had to go through early on in my career, and what I have to take with me on April 9 is the belief that I’m capable.
Martin claims Joshua looked ‘scared’ when they went nose-to-nose.
“There’s no fear with me,” said Joshua. “I’m here and there is no turning back.”
BELIEVE THE HYPE? Charles Martin has only earned 22 wins but feels he can still beat the Olympic champion