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Sudden rise nets title shot for Southland heavyweight Charles Martin

Charles Martin is already talking about unifying all the belts of the heavyweight division, and while the first response may be to ask, "Who's Charles Martin?" don't laugh.

A year ago, the unbeaten boxer from North Hollywood who trains in Big Bear was the ninth-ranked heavyweight, according to the International Boxing Federation.

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Former Olympic heavyweight champion Henry Tillman of Los Angeles introduced me to Martin at a summer luncheon, and Martin whispered to me a scoop: that he was joining powerful boxing manager Al Haymon's stable.

After two other knockout victories in 2015, Martin dominated Vicente Sandez by third-round knockout on Sept. 26, which moved him to No. 4 on the IBF ratings.

Then, in November, champion Wladimir Klitschko was defeated by England's Tyson Fury and Fury opted to vacate the IBF title due to a rematch clause with Klitschko.

Those fallen dominoes created Saturday's IBF title fight in Brooklyn between Martin (22-0-1, 20 knockouts) and Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-0-1, 13 KOs).

The bout from Brooklyn, N.Y., on Showtime will be the co-main event to Deontay Wilder's World Boxing Council heavyweight title defense against Poland's Artur Szpilka.

"It's crazy, a blessing, I'm happy to be here for sure," Martin, 29, said. "It's a dream to become a world champion."

Martin, nicknamed "Prince," was scheduled to fight unbeaten Southland heavyweight Dominic Breazale on a Premier Boxing Champions card last month, but Haymon and Tillman convinced him to withdraw when the title bout against Glazkov was at hand.

"That fight's pointless, let's focus on this here," Martin said he was told.

Although Glazkov has Olympic experience, Martin said his opponent is "like a cruiserweight." Martin has a two-inch height and four-inch reach advantage.

"What I like is he's a real small dude … he wants to come forward like he's King Kong, like he's going to knock down a wall," Martin said. "He's going to come forward like I'm going to be scared of him. That's a bad thing to do with me.

"That's how I learned how to fight: on my back feet. When I was an amateur, I learned how to move, move, move on my back feet, then hit the guy. I learned how to throw the 1-2 off my back feet. I can move, get it off and get away. He's going to run right into it. Let him."

As a well-versed counterpuncher, the southpaw Martin said Glazkov's style "is the easiest thing I've seen."

"If he's going to bring the fight to me, beautiful. I don't have to go cut the ring off. I'll invite him in and catch him coming in. It's going to be like a car wreck. His momentum with my counterpunch. I see it already. It's not going 12 rounds, I know that for a fact.

"With my conditioning, I get better and come more alive as the rounds go heavy into the fight. I sparred all day [in Big Bear]."

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Showtime Vice President Stephen Espinoza said he'd love to televise an all-American heavyweight unification bout between Wilder and Martin should both win Saturday at Barclays Center.

Martin, now accustomed to things moving swiftly in his sport, expressed enthusiasm for Wilder.

"After we take this belt, I want the WBC," Martin said. "I want them all. I'll take them from Tyson Fury. Give me them all."

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