Charles Martin has reached a point in his career where he feels it’s big fights or bust.
The bulk of the past two years has been the latter, though a necessary investment into his future.
“I’ve just got big plans and big expectations for myself,” Martin told reporters during a Zoom media conference call of his recent inactive stretch ahead of his New Year’s Day showdown with Luis Ortiz. “I have goals of becoming a two-time heavyweight champion. I don’t see the need to waste my time with tune-up fights right now.
“I don’t need it. I’m ready to rock and roll right now.”
Martin (28-2-1, 25KOs) has been ready for any big fight ever since his last win, a one-sided sixth-round stoppage of former heavyweight title challenger Gerald Washington last February at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Several opportunities have been floated for the former IBF heavyweight titlist since the pandemic, with his name attached to rumored showdowns with fellow former titlists Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs) and Andy Ruiz (34-2, 22KOs). Neither bout materialized, leaving the California-based heavyweight with a career-longest 22-month inactive stretch by the time he faces Miami’s Ortiz (32-2, 27KOs) on January 1 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Ortiz—who turns 43 in March—has not fought since a 45-second blitzing of Alexander Flores last November in Los Angeles. The brief affair is his lone piece of ring action since a repeat knockout loss to Deontay Wilder in their November 2019 WBC heavyweight title fight rematch at MGM Grand.
In that regard, neither fighter is at an advantage heading into their Fox Sports Pay-Per-View headliner.
Both remain focused on winning a heavyweight belt, which for Martin would be a second title reign. The 6’5” southpaw—who turns 36 in April—briefly held the IBF belt before suffering a second-round knockout to then-unbeaten contender Anthony Joshua in April 2016, having since won five of his last six.
The lone defeat came in a competitive ten-round, unanimous decision in favor of then-unbeaten Adam Kownacki in September 2018. The current three-fight win streak for Martin—including the aforementioned knockout of Washington—helped lead to this point, with the only intention to continue moving forward.
“I’m in my prime right now,” noted Martin. “I’m at my peak, I don’t believe in fighting the lower-level fighters right now.”