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Christy Martin: The Comeback to Boxing

By Gina L. Caliboso

Saturday, March 12th was to mark Martin’s return to the ring after a 2 year absence. Due to a rib injury, she pulled out of the bout.

In boxing, timing can be everything. Whether a boxer’s timing is off, either physically or even psychologically, a boxer’s timing is critical. Female boxing champion Christy “Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin, 49-5-3, 31 KO’s was set to make her return to the ring in a rematch against Dakota Stone, 9-8-5, 1 KO, for the junior middleweight belt on the Ricardo Mayorga – Miguel Cotto undercard.

After suffering a stabbing and shooting at the hands of her husband, Martin’s timing to step back into the ring is physically off after reporting she had suffered a rib injury during training. However, psychologically, the timing for Martin is just as critical. Martin should really be applauded for her determination to return to boxing despite the out of the ring challenges she has recently faced.

In the 90’s, Martin was the premier female fighter. I should actually specify boxer. In a time when there were only a handful of female boxers giving women’s boxing some much needed recognition, we can all thank Martin that seeing a woman with a bloody nose while in combat is actually kind of cool.

Martin made her professional debut back in 1989 when she first defeated Angela Buchanan, 0-12. Having suffered her first loss against Andrea DeShong, 13-9, 7 KO’s in November 1989, Martin redeemed the loss with a win over DeShong in April 1990.

Throughout the 1990’s, Martin continued to fight and win convincingly over opponents. Signed by Don King in October 1993, Martin continued to string win after win together. In her infamous bloody match against Dierdre Gogarty, Martin fought through and won in a unanimous decision. She showed a tremendous amount of trademark fight and strength and she continued to garner media attention.

In December 1998, Martin lost for only the second time in her career against with a majority decision over 10 rounds against Sumya Anani, 25-3, 10 KO’s. Martin continued her winning ways following the loss and soon came up against notable female boxer, Mia St. John in December 2002.

She defeated St. John in a unanimous decision over 12 rounds. Nearly 8 months later, Martin came up against Laila Ali, 24-0, 21 KO’s. While some say it was a match pitting two great female fighters together in the ring, Martin took a fight against a much bigger fighter. At this time, Ali had brought much needed attention to women’s boxing, even though Martin had been its frontrunner for nearly a decade before Ali. It was also a heavier bout for Martin as the two fought for the IBA Super Female Middleweight title. Martin ended up losing the fight in a 4th round KO.

As her career entered into 2005, her last bout had been after the Ali match where Martin defeated Lana Alexander, 3-7, 1 KO in a 2nd round KO. Martin soon followed up with two losses in a row against Holly Holm in 2005, followed by another loss to Angelica Martinez in October 2006.

From 2006 through 2009, Martin remained fighting in the light middleweight division. Martin’s last victory occurred last year in 2009 against Dakota Stone which had resulted in a hard fought 10 round MD.

As I’ve mentioned that timing can be everything, Martin never did seem to have the time, or perhaps again, the timing for both her and Lucia Rijker, 17-0, 14 KO’s to fight one another could never synch.

Over the course of their careers, both Martin and Rijker have called each other out because they are, or were the best in female boxing. In her bout before Belinda Laracuente, Martin had claimed that she had an exchange of sorts at the LA Boxing Gym. Martin was finishing up an interview when Rijker showed up at the gym. The two exchanged punches and Martin suffered an injury to her foot by assistant trainer Jeff Bailey.

After her defeat over St. John, Rijker showed up and called out Martin. They were even set to fight one another in 2005, but Rijker opted to appear as a fighter and advisor for the award winning film, “Million Dollar Baby.” Like I said, it’s timing for Martin. The fight with Rijker never happened, even as Bob Arum had dubbed it “Million Dollar Lady.” Again, timing.

Christy “Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin began fighting over 20 years ago in the 1990’s and since then, the popularity of women in combat sports has increased. Female combat sports athletes are still battling, but thankfully, boxer Christy Martin continues to fight and shows she’s up for a return to the ring.

With her more recent personal challenges of being a shooting and stabbing victim, Martin is a true example that the fight for her is never over and that she will be in the ring again, ready to box and fight.

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