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Charles Martin's life pure drama since defeat to Anthony Joshua

Former world champion Charles Martin is back in boxing after a turbulent year. JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Anthony Joshua is preparing to fight in front of 90,000 at Wembley on Saturday. The man he deposed as IBF world heavyweight champion, Charles Martin, has only just re-entered the maze that forms a blockade around boxing prominence.

Since being blasted out by Joshua inside two rounds at The O2 almost exactly a year ago, the man from Missouri has been shot, stunned YouTube in a series of video rants and -- only last weekend -- made his boxing return in a small casino somewhere in Mississippi on a minor telecast.

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In the wake of his comeback, Martin insisted he was never fit to defend his title against Joshua. He told BoxingScene.com: "I got hurt prior to the fight, so I couldn't perform. My head wasn't in the game. I couldn't perform. I was hurt."

In retrospect, Martin's claim is at least support by recalling he did little at the pre-fight public workout at York Hall; foregoing padwork in favour of simply moving around the ring and shadow-boxing without so much as handwraps on. Whether he was truly suffering from injury that night or not is open to conjecture, though. Whether it would have mattered is, too.

Having handed over his crown in disappointing fashion, worse awaited. At 5 a.m. on an August 2016 morning, Martin was shot in Los Angeles. He said of the incident: "I looked down and saw a pool of blood. I said to myself 'I gotta get outta here. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna bleed to death.'"

Martin survived and checked out of hospital five days later having undergone surgery.

Fast forward to the back-end of the year and Martin took to YouTube to offer updates on his life. There was an air of the bizarre about it all; in one self-filmed video, he warns kids: "Kids, don't do drugs!" and in footage released later, boasts: "I smoke weed b---- yeah, but I don't drink alcohol." At various points in both clips, Martin hints he's angling for a future career in music.

Professional boxers should never be discouraged from planning for life after they're done fighting. The history of the sport is littered with former champions who have fallen by the wayside. It's an industry in which careers are often born in the shadows of dysfunction and -- just as often -- end up there.

Having been on the wrong end of a gun, Martin is already the man in a cautionary tale. Apropos of nothing, he suddenly launches into a lecture during an interview with ThaBoxingVoice: "I want to put a message out to the youth. Put the guns down and pick the gloves up. You can heal from those scars but you can't come back from death. Stop shooting guns in the hood. Wake up."

To his credit, the 31-year-old has now fought again and taken what will hopefully prove a crucial first step in the right direction. Suffering a first career defeat in front of a baying mob having professed to "walk this earth like a God" can have been no easy pill to swallow.

In a particularly heartfelt rant on YouTube, Martin makes clear the deluge of negativity that followed his defeat to Joshua has had an effect on him. "Positive vibes only. Stay off my page please. I don't disrespect y'all. I don't even want the negativity my way."

As he reminds watchers at the start of the very same clip, he was a world heavyweight champion. His repeatedly calling for a rematch with Joshua and a shot at WBO king Joseph Parker may appear overly-ambitious -- at least at this stage -- but he's right to demand a degree of respect.

When Joshua clashes with the legendary Wladimir Klitschko in one of the sporting events of the year, a man from St Louis' may or may not be watching and reliving the night it was him walking to the ring -- dressed in the full regalia of an English monarch -- boasting the spotlight and the world championship belt.

On an average Tuesday night, Martin scored a second-round knockout of Byron Polley in a support slot... What a difference 12 months make.