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Charles Martin ready for Adam Kownacki on Sept.8

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By Jeff Aranow: Former IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin (25-1-1, 23 KOs) wants to make a statement against unbeaten Adam Kownacki (17-0, 14 KOs) in their fight on September 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Martin vs. Kownacki is the co-feature bout on the Showtime Boxing card headlined by Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter.

Martin, 32, needs a big win over the hard hitting Kownacki to get a pushed up the rankings for a world title shot. The 6’5” Martin has slowly been coming back since losing his International Boxing Federation heavyweight title two years ago to Anthony Joshua by a 2nd round knockout on April 9, 2016. Since that loss, Martin has fought just twice, beating journeymen Byron Polley (30-23-1, 13 KOs) and Michael Marrone (21-9, 15 KOs). Fighting the 29-year-old Kownacki is going to be a big step up in class for Martin from his last two opponents, and it’s unclear if he can make that leap.

Martin is ranked #9 by the World Boxing Council. The only reason Martin isn’t rated higher is he’s not been very active since losing to Anthony Joshua two years ago in 2016. Martin has fought just twice since then and his level of opposition has left a lot to be desired. The big 6’5” southpaw Martin should have continued facing quality opposition after losing to Joshua instead of going back to the journeymen circuit to pad his resume against poor fighters. Martin got a big payday in losing to Joshua, so perhaps there hasn’t been as much of an incentive for him to stay active against the best contenders like there is with other top fighters.

”I got to take care of Adam Kownacki first before anything,” Martin said about him wanting to fight for another world title. “I’ll come in to make a statement. I’m bringing devastation. I’m more mature, I’m grown. I’m a grown man.”

It’s unclear what Martin means by saying that he’s “grown’ since his loss to Joshua. Martin hasn’t been active enough for him to say that he’s matured as a fighter. He’s been fighting just once a year since his 2nd round KO loss to Joshua in 2016, and his opposition has been lackluster in facing two journeymen fighters.

This is going to be a tough fight for Martin, as Kownacki is one of the hardest punchers in the heavyweight division. Kownacki isn’t lightning fast like champions Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, but he hits awfully hard. Kownacki is one of those George Foreman type punchers, who bludgeon his opponents into submission over the course of his fights. It’s been two years since one of Kownacki’s opponents have been able to make it past the 6th round. The last guy to last more than six rounds against Kownacki is Danny Kelly, who went eight rounds with him in January 2016. Three fighters have made it to the eighth round against Kownacki since he turned pro nine years ago in 2009. He seems to be improving as a puncher as he matures. That’s bad news for Martin, because he’s going to have to find out a way to neutralize his punching power somehow.

In Kownacki’s last four fights, he’s stopped Lago Kiladze, Artur Szpilka, Joshua Tufte and Jesse Barboza. Kownacki’s 4th round knockout victory over the 29-year-old Szplilka last year in July 2017 was an impressive performance. Kownacki did a better job stopping former heavyweight world title challenger Szpilka than Deontay Wilder did in defeating him by a 9th round knockout in his previous fight a year and a half earlier in January 2016. Granted, you can say that Wilder softened Szpilka up with his brutal 9th round knockout, but it was still impressive nonetheless for Kownacki to knockout Artur in a quicker fashion in stopping him in half the time that Deontay did.

If Kownacki can destroy Martin early on September 8, he can shake up the boxing world by showing there’s a new threat to the top heavyweights in the division.

”I’m prepared for everything you can possibly think of. I’m coming to minimize everything he brings, that’s what we are working on,” Martin said. “[Kownacki] is just a good fighter with a lot of heart. I’m just here to show people my skills and that’s what I am going to do on September 8.”

Martin has the size, power and boxing skills to beat Kownacki, but it’s unclear whether he has the heart and the chin to do the job. It looked to a lot of boxing fans that Martin quit against Joshua in 2016. He didn’t appear to want it against the 6’6” Joshua, especially when he started to take big shots from him in round 2. Martin looked like he didn’t want any part of Joshua when he started to get hit hard in the 2nd. Kownacki isn’t as highly hyped as Joshua in the boxing world, but his punching power is similar if not better. The 260 pound Kownacki doesn’t have the bodybuilder physique that Joshua possesses, but he punches with the same type of force. What Kownacki doesn’t have that Joshua has is the hand speed, height and reach. Kownacki is shorter and slower than Joshua and Martin. The 6’3” Kownacki will be giving up two inches in height to the 6’5” Martin on September 8, and four inches in reach. Martin will need to try and keep Kownacki on the outside at all times in the fight, because if he’s able to close the distance to and his heavy shots, he’s going to end the fight quickly. Martin does not take hard shots well, and Kownacki can really bring it once he’s in punching range.

The winner of the Kownacki vs. Martin fight should get pushed up the WBC’s rankings to within striking distance of WBC champion Deontay Wilder. They’re still going to need to likely earn the mandatory position with the WBC before they’re given a world title shot, because they’re too dangerous to be given a crack at the title in a voluntary defense.

”I’m looking at Charles Martin as if he is still a champion, so by beating him it puts me right in o the title shot,” Kownacki said. “I’m prepared for the best Charles Martin that he brings.”

Martin is clearly no longer a world champion, and he was never a solid champion to begin with. Martin won the vacant IBF heavyweight title after his opponent Vyacheslav Glazkov suffered a bad knee inury in the 3rd round of their fight in January 16, 2016. At the time of the injury, Glazkov had been getting the better of Martin in the first two rounds, and he looked like he was on his way to defeating him. Without the injury changing the complexion of the fight, Martin very likely would have lost to Glazkov. It was a bad injury for Glazkov, who hasn’t fought since then.


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