RYAN Martin has labelled tonight’s Commonwealth welterweight title eliminator against South African Mziwoxolo Ndwayana as the most important fight of his career.
Swindon boxer Martin has had big bouts previously, with his tilts at the WBC youth world title and IBO continental crown in 2017 both ending in disappointment after a pair of unanimous decision defeats.
Although no belt is on the line at the Oasis Leisure Centre this evening, victory against Ndwayana would give Martin a shot at becoming Commonwealth champion in the near future.
The 25-year-old, therefore, says the fight at the Neilson Boxing-promoted Fight Town 3 show is one he simply cannot afford to lose.
“I think it is my most important fight,” said Martin, who has 12 wins and a draw from 15 professional fights.
“Those previous fights that I just fell short in, I understand the reasons why.
“It was early in my career, so maybe it was OK that I came up a bit short as I was still able to gain experience.
“I had a little bit of leeway then but this fight now is very important. In my head, it is a must win.”
Martin’s opponent heads to Swindon as the reigning South African welterweight champion and boasting a record of 18 wins, two draws and four defeats.
Ndwayana represents a step into the unknown as not much fight footage has been obtained ahead of tonight’s showdown.
But for the Swindon fighter and trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick, the onus is on what Martin can do.
“I haven’t seen a massive amount,” said Martin.
“There are a few clips of his fights on the internet, and what we have seen is what he will bring on the night.
“We expect a strong guy, a good fighter and someone who is potentially going to push me for 10 hard rounds.
“For me, you have to think about yourself in this sport. As long as I turn up on the night, I will get the job done, simple as that.”
Although scheduled for 10 rounds, Martin is keen to end the contest much earlier than that and wants to give his supporters a night to savour in Swindon.
“I definitely want to break him down,” said Martin.
“It would be a statement if I could knock him out at any stage but I have worked to be in there for 10 hard rounds, so I will be ready for whatever he brings.
“Once you start going through these fights and are successful, all of a sudden, you have got a target on your back.
“Hopefully more big fights will come after the end of this one.”