Former world champion and 2020 International boxing hall of fame inductee Christy Martin was known throughout her career for her grit and determination in the boxing ring. She gained fame in the mid 90’s fighting on Mike Tyson PPV event undercards, often providing fans with some of the best and most exciting fights of the card. Outside of the ring she has proven to be just as resilient as inside, having survived a domestic abuse attack and a stroke. In and out of the ring, the “Coalminer’s Daughter” is a true warrior.
In Part 1 of my “On The Ropes” interview with Christy Marin, she speaks on her recent induction into the international boxing hall of fame. Martin also talked about her career and fighting on the Don King promoted Mike Tyson events. Additionally, Christy talks about the recent comeback of Mike Tyson, judging the fight against Roy Jones Jr and giving her thoughts on Tyson making a serious comeback. Here is what Christy Martin had to say.
Jenna J: Christy, you were named as part of the 2020 class for induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the ceremony is going to be happening with the 2021 class. What were your thoughts on getting elected to the Hall of Fame?
Christy Martin: Yeah I’m totally excited about being inducted into the international Boxing Hall of Fame, it’s a dream come true. Back in 1993, I was a grand marshal for the Hall of Fame induction but clearly at that point they had no thoughts of ever inducting a female fighter into the Hall of Fame. It has come full circle and now instead of being part of the grand marshal and part of the outside, I’ll be on the inside looking out, and that’s going to be awesome.
Jenna J: You are the first woman fighter inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. What does it mean to you that women are now in the HOF and that female boxers now have this goal that they can look to in the sport?
Christy Martin: It’s awesome, and no matter who comes along afterwards, they’re not going to be the first. As I went through my career, I didn’t always have something to look at as, “Wow I want to be like that person, I want to get that opportunity.” Love me or hate me, it doesn’t matter, I paved the way and made it special.
I made it easier for Claressa Shields — as arrogant as she may be. I made it easier for Katy Taylor and for a lot of these female fighters. Before me, there was Jackie Tonawonda, Barbara Buttrick but we have to all be knowledgeable enough to appreciate the ones who knocked down those doors before us.
I feel like some of these younger females and even the guys, they forget about those guys who came before them. If you’re really true and love your sport, you have to learn the history and I feel like young people in all sports forget about paying homage to the ones who came before them.
Jenna J: You gained fame fighting on Mike Tyson’s PPV cards where you were involved in fights that sometimes people remembered more than the main event. What was it like to be a part of those events?
Christy Martin: To be part of those Don King promoted Mike Tyson fights was unbelievable. I’m from a small town in southern West Virginia of five hundred people, and to get to go fight in Vegas at the MGM Grand and Madison Square Garden was overwhelming because you get in the ring and you see all these actors, actresses, singers and all these people who are famous who are there ringside to watch the fight. Now I’m doing promotions and I want to give that opportunity to some young up-and-coming fighter.
Jenna J: Recently you were part of Mike Tyson’s recent comeback fight against Roy Jones in which you were a celebrity judge. What were your thoughts when you heard Mike Tyson was coming back to boxing?
Christy Martin: Honestly, as soon as he announced that he was coming back, I put a call to his wife and said I wanted to open up the show. I thought it was all going to be exhibition, a little bit more in fun, and I wanted to be on the show. Her and Mike were both on board, but then I found out it was going to be a little more sanctioned and the commission was going to be involved. I had a stroke back in 2011 and I knew if the commission was involved, I can’t pass an MRI, so I had to pull myself away from that.
To get the call to ask if I would be a celebrity judge, it was awesome. I was excited and I thought that Mike was in great shape — you could tell he’d been working out — and I think he was excited to be back in the ring and to talk to the fans and be part of the boxing world again.
Jenna J: When it comes to the fight between Tyson and Jones, your scoring for the match was applauded by a lot of fans as the most accurate of all the judges. What did you think of the scoring and also the fight itself?
Christy Martin: My initial response to the scoring was, “Vinny, what were you smoking, brother?” No way it was the way he saw it with Roy winning. Chad Dawson was probably trying to be more logistical, but I just didn’t see it that way. Even if you look back at it, I couldn’t find rounds to give Roy because he didn’t really want to fight. Roy’s a smart man, he didn’t want Tyson to hit him. I still stand by my scorecard and I’m glad that I have read many comments that most people seem to agree with my card, not that I expect my next career to be a fight judge.
Jenna J: People still get excited by having Mike Tyson in the sport and some even want to see him make a real comeback. Do you think at his age that he could realistically beat anyone in the top 30?
Christy Martin: Yeah probably, if he really got serious about it. Could he beat Tyson Fury? I’m not so sure about that one, but I think there are some guys out there at age 54 that if he got back into shape, he would definitely win.
Jenna J: Do you want to see that or do you think he should keep it on the exhibition side of things?
Christy Martin: I don’t want to see it. As a promoter, I won’t put guys on my show who are forty and there’s a lot of guys out there who are forty and can get approved by commissions. I’m not going to say I haven’t but that’s my last choice and I don’t like it. As a promoter, I don’t want to lay my head down at night and think that someone got hurt on one of my shows. I do believe as you get older, it increases the odds that you’re going to get hurt.