A brief history
Martin has always been actively involved in boxing but didn’t start training properly until he was 10 years old, and this was mainly because his best friend at the time was doing it. He was trained by John Chisnall, manager of the Glass Boxing Gym in St Helens, who was responsible for training most of the fighters in the area. John had a big impact on a lot of the young people in the area, and over the years Martin became very close to him.
Martin’s amateur career spanned over 14 years. He had his first fight at just 11 years old and his last fight at 25; although he is keen to point out that there were lots of breaks in between. Martin grew up watching fighters like Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Prince Naseem when British boxing seemed at a high during this era in the 80′s. Although he enjoyed watching the fights, he wasn’t influenced by the fighters, but more influenced about wanting to be able to fight on the same stage as them. During his amateur career, he won the ABA’s at welterweight and had the opportunity to box for England until his career took a setback because of events outside the ring.
Boxing has played a huge part of Martin’s life, and he has applied himself to the sport with full dedication since turning professional. He now fights for his family which includes fiancé Gemma, son Archie and daughter Amelia.
“I’m loving what I’m doing, training hard and wanting to fulfil my full potential. Boxing saved me, I’ve got the drive now to go all the way because I’m doing it for my family”
Martin knew about the Prizefighter competition having watched the Heavyweights, and his promoter at the time (Steve Wood of VIP promotions) mentioned he could get him in if he was interested. Martin jumped at the chance. On seeing the line up he knew he could win the competition, even though the opposition was tough and included several unbeaten fighters. Martin ended up with the toughest draw, but won the competition with a thrilling final against Cello Renda. Winning the Prizefighter increased Martin’s exposure and created a huge and loyal fan base which follow him to all his fights.
“My feet are still firmly on the ground, and I have realistic goals for the future”
Oliver Harrison has been Martin’s trainer since turning pro. Martin met a few different trainers, but knew instantly when he met Oliver that he was the one. Oliver is a very well respected trainer, and dedicates a lot of time to Martin. Martin believes that Oliver is going to take him to the places he wants to be.
Since turning professional, Martin has won the Commonwealth title in a 12 round white wash against Peter Mitrevski Jr and the international WBA title against powering punching knockout artist Carlos Nascimento, who Martin stopped in a three round TKO. He also won the British title in just 5 rounds against Nick Blackwell. Following that fight, Martin had the chance to compete for the WBA world title against Felix Sturm in Germany in December 2011, and scored a controversial draw. Many believed that Martin won the fight. After that, Martin won his next two fights and earned another World Title shot against the ring legend Sergio Martinez in Argentina. Despite being a significant underdog, Martin exposed the champion and dropped him to the canvas on two occassions. Although he had a dominating performance, the judges scored in favour of Martinez in another controversial decision, however he earned a huge amount of respect and fans.
Winning the Prizefighter was a brilliant opportunity for Martin, and exposed him to a much larger audience of boxing fans. His fans are VERY vocal at his fights, and he cannot stress enough at just how grateful he is for their support and the affect that they have on his performances in the ring. As such Martin gets noticed a lot more now than he used to, and now does boxing presentations for schools and local clubs in St Helens. He is pushing for boxing to be introduced back into schools (as some of the local schools have already started doing) as it has played such an important role in his life. He knows first-hand the benefits of being dedicated to a sport like boxing, and the difference it can make for children and young adults growing up.
There are lots of people that Martin would like to express his thanks to, but here are just a few shout outs:
- John Chisnall – Martin’s original trainer, who was very influential in his life and got him into boxing. He also helped him to win the ABA title
- John Lyon – Played a big role in getting Martin back into boxing after some setbacks, and dedicated time into training him day and night
- Martin Cullen – Martin’s strength trainer has helped him to sculpt his physique and build the power in his shots
- Oliver Harrison – “A great man and a great trainer. He’s the one who’s going to take me to the places I want to be”
- Physio team – Big thanks go out to Andrew Pinkerton and all the team at Harris & Ross
- The fans / supporters – “I can’t thank my supporters enough… they make me the fighter I am”
- My family – Martin’s Mum, Dad, brothers, sisters and nephews have been there for him and supported him throughout his career. But also he has huge support from his fiancé Gemma, son Archie and daughter Amelia.