Christy Martin writes book after surviving spousal abuse

In 1970, Simon & Garfunkel recorded a mournful song for their latest studio album called “The Boxer”. Except in the allegorical sense, it really was not so much about boxing. It was mostly about the pain Paul Simon felt when he wrote it.

Christy Martin, often referred to as “The Jackie Robinson of Women’s Boxing” for having legitimized the sport during the 1990s, has written a book (with award-winning sports writer Ron Borges) that is not really that much about boxing either.

“Fighting for Survival – My Journey Through Boxing Fame, Abuse, Murder and Resurrection” was released this week.

Chapter 1 sums up the shocking night of November 23, 2010, when Jim Martin, Christy’s coach, manager and husband, stabbed her several times, essentially cutting off one of her calves, whipping her one ear with a gun to a bloody smear. and shot. her in the chest, for which he received 25 years in prison.

That’s mostly what the book is about.

It’s also about Christy Martin being sexually abused by a 15-year-old cousin when she was 6, being abused at home for two decades and having to hide that she was “a lesbian locked in a fake marriage designed to protect “me from a sports world where I had come to believe that I would never accept myself as I was. Why should it? My own mother did not.”

Oh, and when she lay bleeding out on the bedroom carpet – the same woman who fought Deirdre Gogarty at the MGM Grand Garden in 1996 in a fight that raised the profile of women boxing – Martin said she was almost crushed and cocaine addict.

There is a lot to digest on page 3.

Higher call

Although she now spends most of her time in Florida and Austin, Texas, the area code of Martin’s cell phone is still 702.

Eighteen of her 59 pro matches were in Las Vegas. Including the one against Gogarty, when Johnny Tocco, whose dirty Ringside Gym on West Charleston Boulevard served as a training ground for Mike Tyson and other great masters, could not prevent her broken nose from spraying blood.

Her last fight in Las Vegas was remarkable for a completely different reason. On November 17, 2021, Martin was awarded a 10-round unanimous decision over Lisa Holewyne. The two are now married.

When we chatted this week, Martin agreed that her upbringing in West Virginia’s coal mine and her slightly less troublesome life in boxing was only a background for the book and a channel for spreading a more profound message.

“The first thing I thought when I woke up in the hospital was that God let me live for a reason,” she said. “And that reason is to talk about domestic violence, to share my story.

“I’m still not fixed, but if I can help arrange someone else – to help them from going the way I went – then I feel like I’ve done my job.”

Martin, 54, now spends most of his time as a boxing promoter, running a charity called Christy’s Champs to support survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Less than two weeks ago, she became the first woman to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Before giving a short speech, she asked those present to synchronize their watches.

The fighter is still back

Martin told the audience how flattered she was when she was asked to be Grand Marshal at the inauguration ceremony in 1996 after serving the bloody decision against Deirdre Gogarty and cracking down on stereotypes by gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Willie Pep, Carmen Basilio, Gene Fullmer and Archie Moore embraced her, she said, and Marvin Hagler and Aaron Pryor mentioned that there were many boxing brothers in the sanctuary. But that one day they would need a sister.

And now that day had come.

Martin thanked the Hall of Fame for the great honor. She talked for about two minutes.

“In those two minutes, 40 people in this country were abused in a situation of domestic violence,” she said. “Forty people, just like I spoke to you.”

Christy Martin’s smile tightened as she stepped away from the podium.

To paraphrase Paul and Art, in the clearing stood a boxer who carried the reminders of each glove that laid her down and cut her until she shouted that she was going, she was going.

But the fighter is still back.


Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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