After more than 200 amateur fights and 12 national championships under various labels, Chattanooga boxer Ryan Martin has gone pro. And he's hooked up with someone whose very name means coin.
Martin, most recently a Golden Gloves 132- and 141-pound open participant, is set to make his professional debut in the 135-pound lightweight class on Sept. 16 at the Resorts World Casino in New York City. He has a promotional deal with SMS Promotions, owned by rapper 50 Cent.
"Ryan has what it takes to be successful. At only 20 years old he shows dedication and determination that will land him on top," 50 Cent said in a Thursday posting on BoxingScene.com.
Martin said by phone Friday evening from New York that the deal was finalized "two days ago" with SMS and included the hiring of trainer Joe Delguyd, who has coached such talents as former IBA featherweight champion Daniel "The Sandman" Maldonado and light welterweight Craig Weber, who twice fought for world titles. Curtis Jackson also is part of the team getting Martin ready for the debut fight against an as yet unnamed opponent.
Delguyd was lavish in his praise of his new fighter's potential.
"Ryan has all the tools physically and the character that will allow him to become a world champion, as well as a star that boxing so desperately needs," the trainer was quoted by BoxingScene.
"50 Cent told me he'd make me a star. He has the trust of my manager, Tim VanNewhouse, and I know we have a good team in place," the 2011 Central High School graduate said in the BoxingScene announcement.
"Tim put the whole thing together," Martin said Friday. "I've known him since I was about 8 years old. He's from Cleveland, Ohio, but he came through and trained with us here at the Westside Knockouts."
Martin's coach with the Knockouts, now under the Chattanooga YCAP label, was Andy Smith. Smith's father, Joe, is the YCAP director and helps with the boxers.
"They have supported everything going on with me, and I am very happy they set the platform for me, starting me off on a great career," Martin said. "They made me what I am today."
He said he began talking with VanNewhouse about four months ago, after his last amateur appearance in "a small national tournament in Johnson City," but the decision to go pro was two months ago.
"Tim came up with a plan for me, and we've been rock-and-rolling ever since," Martin said.
His amateur career featured two open-division appearances in Golden Gloves national tournaments.
Tickets for the pro card including the Martin fight are available by calling 718-215-2828 or using the venue ID 9244 at www.etix.com/ticket/online.
Contact Ron Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org