Beyond the locker room: Local boxer looks to knock out big names


Standing at 5 feet 10 inches and weighing 152 pounds, you’d never expect Alex Martin Jr. to be as dangerous in the ring as he is, but the hometown boxer is making a name for himself as a fighter to be respected inside and outside the ring.

Martin was born in Chicago and moved to Harvey, Ill. when he was 7 years old before beginning what would be a life-changing decision to pursue boxing as a career at the age of 12.

The aspiring boxer went to Thornton High School before transferring to Joliet Central where he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class, proving that intelligence and power is another combination the hometown celebrity has mastered.

Martin is now seen as a hero in Harvey, where he is often recognized by people who pass him on the street. The mayor and city council of Harvey have also recognized him.

His father, Alex Martin Sr., who also took boxing up as a hobby while he was in the Army, introduced the 22-year-old boxer to the sport. The elder Martin noticed the need for his son to occupy time with something productive, which led him to take his 12-year-old to a boxing match at the Harvey Boxing Club where Martin would later train.

The boxer credits his dad with playing a major part in his decision to enter the boxing ring and keeping him off the streets.

“Staying off the streets and not going to hang out on street corners,” Martin said his biggest challenges were as a kid. “My dad motivated me to box, because he boxed in the Army. He wasn’t serious with boxing in the Army, but he did have a couple amateur fights.”

Within months of him beginning to train, Martin fought in his first match and expressed that it was all uphill from there. Since then, the boxer has racked up more than 100 wins, become a three-time Ringside World Champion, a 2009 Chicago Golden Gloves
Championship and National PAL Championship winner. Martin also recently missed qualifying for the London Olympics this year by the slimmest of margins, which isn’t stopping the nationally ranked boxer from accomplishing his goals.

“I want to challenge all the champions and contenders in my weight class once I make a name for myself in about 15 fights,” Martin said. “I want to fight all the big names like Timothy Bradley, Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan and Danny Garcia, who I fought before in the amateurs and I actually beat him at the PAL championships.”

The fighter is more than just an athlete, he is also a family man. Martin wakes up around 8 a.m. everyday to help to get his siblings ready for school and then goes to training at the Harvey Boxing Club, Chicago Boxing Club or L.A. Fitness, depending on what’s planned for that day with his trainer Jim Strickland.

Martin trains twice a day Monday through Friday and once on Saturdays with his coach Mark Chears, who also sees a bright future ahead for the boxer.

“You don’t have to make Alex train,” Chears said. “He’s self-motivated. Alex has that strong desire to win. You have to make him stop training.”

Chears added he looks to him as more than just a fighter he’s training.

“Alex is like family, he’s like a son,” he said. “We’ve been working together for nine years and we have that trust.”

His great conditioning led him to try out basketball and football in high school, but his love for boxing always brought him back to the ring.

“I wasn’t serious about those other sports,” he said. “All I wanted to do was box.”

Now that he has discovered his passion and made a name for himself in Chicago and the surrounding area, his eyes are set on the next goal: national acclaim.

Follow Royce on Twitter @IfFansCouldTalk

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