RYAN Martin hopes he can be the next big thing to hit the Swindon boxing scene.

The former Walcot amateur has signed professionally with Swindon promoter Keith Mayo and despite being just 19 years-old, believes the time is right to make the step up.

Martin boasted a glittering amateur career which saw him win 28 of his 33 junior bouts. Along the way he twice won the Golden Gloves tournament, the junior ABA title and NACYP title. He also boxed for England for whom he triumphed in the three nations tournament.

Now Martin, who has not boxed for almost two years, cannot wait to make his debut on March 14 at Swindon’s Oasis Leisure Centre.

“I could have taken the sport on at senior level but I always felt the professional style of boxing suited me better,” Martin told the Swindon Advertiser. “I always wanted to give professional boxing a crack and I just felt it was the right time for me.

“I’m really excited and I’m really looking forward to it. I had a pretty successful amateur career and now I want to take that further.

“I’ve always wanted to make a career out of boxing and I wanted to start off at a young age.”

Martin will fight at welterweight and is confident he can adjust to the professional form of the sport, adding: “I know I have the skill and the power to do it.

“I think the pro game will suit my style. The thing with amateur boxing is that it is a short fight and fast-paced whereas I like to plant my feet, take my time to work my opponent out, move around and then pick my shots and wait for an opening.

“In the amateurs you don’t have the time to do that. You have to make your opponents make mistakes and have to throw a lot of shots which is not really my style, I like sussing people out and then picking my shots.”

In the wake of fellow Swindonian Kelvin Young’s IBO Intercontinental success, Martin is aiming for the top although he admits such achievements are a long way in the future.

“It’s obviously very early days,” added Martin. “I’m an inexperienced professional right now.

“My immediate aim is to stay unbeaten and to aim for a British title but personally, and I’m not trying to be big-headed about it, but I’m looking at bigger things and I want to try and go all the way.

“It’s one step at a time though. I’m not going to get ahead of myself because I’m new to the pro game.

“It is an inspiration to see a local boy from Penhill like Kelvin Young win the IBO Intercontinental title and to have him in the gym. It’s given the gym a buzz and given everybody a kick up the bum I think.”

Training won’t be easy for Martin who also has a full-time job to fit in around his early morning runs and evening gym sessions. Eventually Martin plans to concentrate on boxing full-time but for the time being he admits training is going to push him to the limit.

“I’m working full-time at the moment and it’s hard working full-time and then training as well,” added Martin.

“It’s difficult to train twice a day, training before work, doing 9-5 and then going straight back in the gym. I have to get my meals in at work and not drink too many coffees at work.

“It’s going to be testing but I’m enjoying every minute of it right now. In the long term I want to train full-time but until I get a sponsor to help me out that can’t happen.”