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Ryan Martin: I need to win and stay ready for title opportunity

After terminating his disastrous stint with promoter/rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, everything in the career of lightweight prospect Ryan "Blue Chip" Martin seems to be headed in the right direction. Jackson did little for Martin and then declared bankruptcy, leaving the latter's career in limbo.

Because Jackson would not release him, Martin was on the shelf for most of 2015 and early 2016. Since then, things have gone well for the Ohio boxer, as he continues to move up the ladder one rung at a time.

Ryan Martin is facing Marcos Jimenez in the Golden Boy on ESPN's co-main event Friday night. Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire
In recent fights, he has hooked up with promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, a decision which has positively impacted his career.

Through Loeffler, Martin has gained national television exposure, and his last fight (held on March 18) was featured on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs HBO PPV undercard at Madison Square Garden. There, Martin stopped then-undefeated Bryant "Pee Wee" Cruz in the eighth round.

Martin, who hails from Chattanooga, Tennessee and fights out of Cleveland, has also taken advantage of renowned trainer Abel Sanchez's hospitality -- as have his trainers Joe Delguyd and Cam Russell. Sanchez has welcomed Martin and his team into his gym in Big Bear Lake, California, where the young boxer can find much better sparring opponents than he could in Cleveland. While he is not Martin's trainer, Sanchez has provided the Ohio fighter with tips in addition to training facilities, and Martin has followed the same training routine as others in the talent-laden gym.

Martin has trained at Sanchez's Summit gym for three fights, including his upcoming bout at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California Friday night. The fight (10 ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes) will be the co-feature of the "Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN" card.

The 24-year-old Martin (18-0, 11 KOs) will face Dominican Republic native Marcos Jimenez (22-7-0, 15 KOs) in a 10-rounder on the undercard of the bantamweight fight between Oscar Negrete (16-0, 6 KOs) and Sergio Frias (19-6-2, 10 KOs).

Martin claims the significance of fighting in front of a national audience is not lost on him, particularly on such a big weekend.

"This is a great opportunity for me to fight on [ESPN2] in front of a huge nationally televised audience on a big weekend for the network with Manny Pacquiao fighting the next day," Martin said of Pacquiao's welterweight title defense against Jeff Horn, which airs live on ESPN from Brisbane, Australia on Saturday night (9 ET).

Said Loeffler: "This fight is a terrific opportunity for Ryan to shine in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPN2 this Friday night."

Martin's lengthy training regimen in Sanchez's gym has been invaluable.

"I love training up in Big Bear," said Martin, who posted 202-22 record as an amateur and won several national titles. "Abel has a great army of world champions and top contenders at the Summit. I learned so much just being around them and it's very easy being able to focus on my fight being somewhat isolated. The high altitude and the disciplined training program keeps me in the best possible shape for my fights."

Although Jimenez, 33, will enter Friday's fight following an 11-month layoff, he is also coming off the biggest win of his career, a second-round knockout of former multi-divisional world titleholder Vic Darchinyan.

"I've seen Marcos fight. He's a very tough veteran," Martin said. "The important thing is for me to do what I do best and I should be victorious."

To get ready for the fight, Martin sparred with one of the top boxers in Sanchez's gym: lightweight contender Denis Shafikov. Shafikov was preparing for his own bout on Friday night -- a shot against lightweight world titleholder Robert Easter Jr.

"I sparred a great deal the last few weeks with Denis Shafikov," Martin said. "We really helped each other. He's such a strong pressure fighter that I can learn from. He's ready and it should be a terrific fight for him as well on Friday night.

"I'm not sure what lies ahead and not really thinking about a fight after this. I need to win on Friday night and then I'm sure my team and I will regroup to see what's next. I want to stay active, keep learning, keep winning and when the time is right I want to be ready for a world title opportunity."

Source: http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/19765941/need-win-stay-ready-title-opportunity

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