Adrian Martin

Adrian Martin
Accountants are held up as bastions of number crunching in an occupation that wouldn’t naturally sit alongside being a professional prize fighter.  For soon to be debutant Adrian Martin, his career path almost turned out very differently.  “I left university in my second year doing Accounting and Finance” he tells me.  “I didn’t enjoy it at all, the studying was doing my head in and I just wasn’t mature enough. I had left home too early and was spending way too much money, getting in stupid amounts of debt.  I ended up just spending all my time training, everything revolved around boxing.  The only thing I’ve committed myself to fully is boxing.”
This is the story of a 23 year old who nearly never took up the sport at all after an initiation process at eleven years old that would have put many off ever wanting to step into a boxing ring.  “I had a go at it when I was eleven and I was in some RAF barracks near where I live.  The training was just too rough, they brutalised us.  I was only eleven, I didn’t even have abs and I was getting a medicine ball whacked on my stomach!”  Martin quit the training after a month and for a long time, that was it.  No ambitions of hand wraps or gum shields, he was heading down a more academic career path which involved him joining the University of Essex to study his Economics and Finance degree.  So how did the boxing come back into his life?
“After college I was getting in a bit of trouble and decided I needed to toughen up a bit and get away from things so I went down the boxing gym.  I’ve never looked back since” says Martin.  At university he achieved national success, becoming the first British Universities Champion from their academic structure.  He was under the tutelage of Gordon Charlesworth who arranged his first bout in February 2011, followed by a hectic schedule of seven fights over the next three months.  But like oil and water, the university lifestyle and training for boxing didn’t mix well in Martin’s life.  “I was serious about training but it was a lifestyle issue.  I had the student lifestyle, so I cut all that out when I took it properly and really just got into it and decided I wanted to make it as a professional.”  That decision meant that he left university in the second year.  “.  It was one or the other, I couldn’t do both as it would too much of a commitment to two totally different things.  I just love boxing and it’s something I believe I’m good at and can succeed in” he tells me with a stern inner confidence. 
At 23 years of age his time has come to make the step to being a professional boxer.  There isn’t just the university boxing as a foundation but also experience in the ABA elite competitions.  It should all hold him in good stead as he makes his way through the super welterweight/light middleweight division (“I prefer light middleweight as it sounds bigger” he laughs). 
His debut will come on November 7th at York Hall on the Goodwin Promotions show.  Once he decided to turn professional he signed with Steve Goodwin and his setup in Leighton Buzzard, so how did that linkup come about for a fighter who had yet to make his professional debut? 
“I was getting ready for the Haringey Box Cup this year but unfortunately due to the politics in amateur boxing I didn’t get my card so I wasn’t allowed to box in it, which I found out the day before.  I put up on Facebook that I was looking to go pro and a mate of mine who is one of Steve’s lads already told me to speak to Steve.  I had heard a lot of good things about Steve and Goodwin Promotions and Steve had me speak to Kevin (Campion, head of Boxing at Goodwin Promotions).  He ran me through it all and set up a meeting with Steve and I signed with them.  I knew when we had the meeting it was the right thing to do and they were the right people to go with.  I didn’t go look anywhere else after I spoke with them as I knew it was the team I wanted to be with and it was the best place for me to start my career.”
It’s an exciting time for the young boxer to be signing with Goodwin Promotions, who only last weekend debuted their new setup at York Hall involving impressive staging, lighting, entrance videos and all the razzmatazz traditionally associated to a bigger show.  With the bigger platform to perform on are their bigger pressures for the man from Essex?  “I love the idea of fighting at York Hall.  Of course I’m nervous, everyone gets nervous and you would be a fool not to be.  You’re stepping in the ring with someone who wants to knock your head off.  Anyone who takes it lightly will never perform, nerves make you sharper.  The nerves are what give you a competitive edge and if you don’t have them then you don’t care.  It’s not uncontrollable nerves, I’m not scared.”
He has yet to have an opponent named for his first fight.  However receiving a name at late notice hasn’t changed the preparations for the big night.  “I’m not sure who my opponent is yet but I’m sure I will find out soon.  I know they will give me a good opponent to face so I’m looking forward to it.  “Whether it’s a journeyman who covers up or comes to fight, they’re all there to work.  If I take anyone lightly they will pop one on my chin and put me out of there.  No matter who they are or what they’ve done they’re still in the ring and they have an element of pride about them.  Nobody is there just to be walked over, so whoever it is I’m prepared at my absolute fullest and I’m taking it as seriously as I ever have done.  I haven’t stopped training since I came back from holiday in August and whoever it is, I’m ready – I’ve worked my ass off!”
There is a strong confidence and inner belie within Adrian Martin.  He talks with authority about what he believes he can achieve in the sport.
His aspirations as a professional boxer are high, but as he says himself he would be in the wrong sport if they weren’t.  “I want to go all the way.  There’s no point being here if you don’t think you can go all the way.  My first step is getting past this first fight then get past each step on the way.  I need to get in the ring and test myself in the pro ranks, see what I’m like with the pressures and everything like that.  Hopefully a couple of years down the line I can have an undefeated record and build a good following with exciting fights and look at Southern Area titles and build it towards an English title.  God willing, move on to world titles.”

When asked what kind of fighter we can expect to see in the ring on November 7th I again see a young fighter who is clear minded about his strengths and how to work to them.  “I’m a pure boxer.  I’m getting better every day and like to thin of myself as an intelligent fighter.”  The intelligence is undoubted; after all there are not many fighters who could fall back into an accountancy career if the ring is a cruel mistress.  But is there a risk will we see that calmness and intelligence thrown out the window on fight nights?  “I have my moments where I get involved but then everyone does!  Its been a good side of me and a bad side of me getting involved in a tear up.  I aim to keep disciplined and stick to what I do best but I’m not shy about standing and trading toe to toe, I know I can do it.  Touch wood I’ve always taken a punch but I have my Carl Froch moments here and there!”

It promises to be an exciting journey for Adrian Martin.  He is fully committed to his boxing, being in a position where he is supported by his parents to enable him to focus fully on his training and preparation.  “The bank of Mum and Dad employ me to do things around the house!  I’m fortunate enough to leave full time work and box full time.  That’s why I’m putting my all into it and doing it now, I can’t wait until I’m older.  If I’m going to succeed the time is now.”  The time may indeed be now for the Essex boxer – November 7th is the first step on his path to titles.

Martin also wished to thank his sponsors Love Moves Limited who have supported him in his career choice.