By Jerome Souza (@FirstClassBox)
This past December, Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin was the opening bout of the evening for an HBO Latino card that was headlined by Vyacheslav Shabranskyy vs. Sullivan Barrera. Though the main card was televised, Martin’s portion was only available via livestream and in front of a few hundred hardcore boxing fans taking in the early undercard action at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Martin made easy work of an overmatched Yardley Suarez on his way to a 4th round TKO.
Next month, the Chattanooga, Tennessee native will kickoff the pay-per-view portion of the most anticipated event in 2017, Daniel Jacobs vs. Gennady Glolovkin live on HBO PPV from the Madison Square Garden in New York. Martin, 24 (17-10, 10 KO), will take on Bryant “Pee Wee” Cruz, 27 (17-1, 8 KO) for the WBC Continental Americas Lightweight Title. FirstClassBoxing.com caught up with Martin this past week and discuss his preparations for his March 18th fight.
“It’s a big step. Mentally I feel like this where I’m supposed to be. I’ve been boxing for a long, long time so it’s just another day at the office. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, I’m grateful for it and I’m going to capitalize on it”, said Martin when asked about going from the venue opener last December to the PPV opener this March. Cruz is definitely a setup from Suarez in terms of opposition. Suarez has yet to win a fight outside of Mexico whereas Cruz is a New York native and is once-beaten. Martin, is not too concerned with Cruz or his record. “I watched a couple tapes on [Cruz] but this is my night. This is my night to show the world who Blue Chip, who Ryan Martin is, where I’m going to go out there and dominate from the opening bell. I’m not going to go out there and worry about what he brings or does. I’m going to dominate from the opening bell to the end”.
The Tennessee native moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 2013 to solely concentrate on boxing. Martin also wanted to be within an earshot of his head trainer Joe Delguyd and his manager Tim Van Newhouse, who gave him the name “Blue Chip”. As of now, Martin is not exclusively signed with a promotional company but has had the luxury to fight on a number cards promoted but various promoters. Golovkin-Jacobs happens to be promoted by Tom Loeffler’s K2 Promotions whom Martin spoke highly about, “I got a working relationship with K2, that’s who I’m focused on right now. It’s a great working relationship with those guys and I like where I’m at right now with them”.
FirstClassBoxing.com asked the lightweight what separates him from other fighters in his weight class, “I take this very seriously and this camp personally I feel like I’m just more focused than I’ve ever been. I’m a real student of the game, I work my tail off and I think that’s what separates me from a lot of fighters that I’m really into it and I really live boxing. I eat sleep and live this everyday”. As a student game Martin has a strong appreciation of boxing in the 1980s. The one fighter Martin looked up to, “my all-time favorite, I still watch him today and I love how carried himself outside the ring, Sugar Ray Leonard”.
One major perk with fighting on a K2 card is the exposure to Gennady Golovkin and his training camp run by Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, California. “Training in Big Bear it’s just a different environment, the solitude, being around GGG and all the other guys up there, pushing me a little harder, keeping me focused”. Martin spent half of his camp in California before finishing up with Delguyd in Cleveland. FirstClassBoxing.com asked the undefeated Lightweight if there were any major takeaways from his experience working with Abel Sanchez and his crew in Big Bear, “be a smart fighter, we in the hurt business so we in there to hurt our opponent. Just work hard, everything is easy and hard work can beat anything”.
At 5’11”, Martin is a towering lightweight. Martin explained he was comfortable fighting at 135 lbs and will not considering a move up until he wins a title at lightweight and defends it a few times. Martin was asked when he expects his title shot to take place, “hopefully I’ll be in contention at the end of the year and fighting for a title at the beginning of next year if not at the end of this year. I just gotta to be ready whenever that time comes”.
In terms of the main event on March 18th, Blue Chip sees the middleweight title fight as an even matchup of complementary styles. “Jacobs is going to be the most athletic fighter that GGG has faced so far but also think GGG is going to be most explosive and powerful fighter that Jacobs has faced so far. So it’s going to be an exciting fight and I think it’s good for boxing”. But Martin will not be overlooked in terms of him putting on an action fight with Cruz, “March 18th they can expect explosiveness, excitement, and fans on the edge of their seats ready for an action-packed fight. March 18th I want to bring that all out to show the world who Ryan Martin, who Blue Chip is”.