Christy Martin is the emeritus light middleweight WBC World Champion. Christy, "The Coal Miners Daughter" was the best-known female boxer in the world in the late 1990's. Christy's contract with Hall of Fame Promoter, Don King introduced millions of pay-per-view buyers to women's boxing with the sight of her bloody battles and knockouts before star studded sell-out audiences on the undercards of Mike Tyson, Felix Trinidad and Julio Cesar Chavez.

Born on June 12, 1968, even in her early years, Christy's athletic skills were readily apparent. She was a catcher in Little League baseball, played basketball at Mullens High and Concord College in Athens, WV. While at Concord, she entered and won a Tough Woman competition on a dare. After graduating with an education degree in 1990, she began a boxing career signing with a promoter in Bristol, TN.

Christy's professional boxing career began with a five-round draw against Angela Buchannan in Bristol, TN on September 9, 1989. Three weeks later in Asheville, NC, Christy knocked Buchanan out in the second round. She found her power in her right hand that would carry her throughout her entire career and became “hooked” on the sport of boxing.

On November 4, 1989 in Bristol, TN she lost a five-round decision to unbeaten Andrea DeShong of Mingo Junction, OH. During the bout Christy was bitten on the cheek by DeShong. In a rematch, Christy reversed the result with a five-round points win over DeShong, dropping Andrea's pro record to 8-1.

On September 10, 1991 in Princeton, WV, on a show promoted by her mother, Christy TKO'd Shannon Davenport in the second round.

In Ormond Beach, FL Christy TKO'd Jackie Thomas in the third round, Thomas had fought fifteen rounds against Dora Webber in Mexico and was a true trailblazer for the sport of women’s boxing. Later in the year, Christy defeated Stacey Prestage in a very tough fight. Prestage was down early, but continued to fight like a true warrior.

On May 28, 1993 in Punta Gorda, FL Christy KO'd fighter Deborah Cruickshank in the first round with devastating body shots. In August she repeated this performance against Rebecca Kirkland, this time by first-round TKO. Jackie Kallen was ringside for both bouts and took considerable notice of Christy inviting her to fight in the Palace of Auburn Hills, MI.

On October 15, 1993 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, MI, she knocked out local fighter Beverly Szymanski in the third round. This bout was shown live on PASS Network becoming Christy’s first televised fight.

Christy moved to Orlando and signed with promoter Don King in October of 1993.This was the beginning of a remarkable career and a ride that no one could have anticipated.

Christy's 1994 fights took her to Las Vegas, NV where she earned first-round TKO's over Sonja Donlevy and Susie Melton. It was a different story when she fought Mexican lightweight champion Laura Serrano on the undercard of a Chavez-Randall title bout at the MGM Grand on May 7, 1994. Christy earned a draw over six rounds.

Christy's stock rose when she TKO'd Chicago veteran, Chris Kreuz, in the fourth round at the Silver Nugget on September 12, 1994. The fight with Chris Kreuz was the fight that caught the attention of everyone at Don King Productions.

Christy fought three times in the next year, knocking out Beverly Szymanski in the fourth round in Primm, NV and TKO'ing opponent Angela Buchanan in the second round in Las Vegas. A first-round TKO of Erica Schmidlin of Dearborn, MI followed at the Spectrum in Philadelphia on the undercard of Tyson-Mathis, Jr. On January 13, 1996 in Miami, FL she won a hard fought six-round decision over Melinda Robinson. After Miami, Christy traveled a little closer to home to defeat Del Pettis in Richmond, VA. Christy was a huge hit in Richmond as they opened their arms to the coal miner's daughter and she didn't disappoint as she landed bombs from beginning to end of the fight.

Next, Christy stopped former state of Ohio State kickboxing champion Sue Chase 0:27 into the third round on a Showtime card on February 10 1996, using a combination of straight rights and stinging left hooks. This was Christy’s first exposure to the US national audience on SHOWTIME. Both Mike Tyson and Don King were ringside with eyes fixed on Christy’s performance.

Christy became a media star through the bloody nose she was given by her most serious opponent in 1996, Irish featherweight Deirdre Gogharty. The unanimous six-round decision for Christy Martin on March 16 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas earned her recognition by the World Boxing Council as its first women's lightweight champion of the world. The PPV fight's significance was that it was easily the highlight on the undercard of a men's heavyweight title bout (Mike Tyson vs. Frank Bruno). The Martin-Gogharty battle was seen in an estimated 30 million homes and in over 100 countries! Martin relied on strength, aggression and relentless pressure to overwhelm her opponents and win the battle with Gogharty while winning the hearts of millions of new fans.

The image of the bloodied Martin battling to outpoint Gogharty (who recovered from a knockdown to make an exciting fight of it) brought more attention to women's boxing than any other single event before or since. This bloody battle landed Christy on the cover of Sports Illustrated on April 15, 1996.

At the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV Christy knocked out Melinda Robinson in the fourth round with a crushing right hand. Robinson tried to get back to her feet only to fall on her face giving Christy the KO that she had promised.

DeShong returned to competition after seeing the attention given to the Martin-Gogarty fight and made no secret that she wanted to fight Christy again. Christy worked Andrea's body early, watched her tire, and then took pot shots at her through the sixth and seventh rounds to earn a TKO in round seven. DeShong had some good defensive skills, but wasn't ready to outlast Christy over ten. This fight reportedly earned Christy $150,000, then a record purse for women's boxing.

Christy's next fight was August 23, 1997 against Atlanta's Isra Girgrah over eight rounds in Madison Square Garden. Girgrah gave Christy a tough fight despite taking an eight count and being badly bloodied in the early going. Christy entered this fight with a broken nose, but still came away with a unanimous decision win.

Christy (140¼ lbs) next won a unanimous (99-90,99-90,100-90) 10-round decision over Marcela Acuña (140 lbs) of Formosa, Argentina at Florida's Pompano Beach Amphitheater.. Martin controlled Acuña with her right and landed good flurries to her head and body early in the fight. Acuña's best moments were in rounds three and four when she landed well to Christy head, but Christy connected with a strong right in the fifth and Acuña's eye began to swell. Christy, fighting in her home state for the first time in over a year, had promised her fans a knockout. She came close in round ten when she dropped Acuña with a left-right combination to the head.

Christy was set to fight Belgium's Daniëlla Somers in Mexico City on March 7, 1998 but the bout was scuttled a few days earlier when the city authorities exhumed a 1947 law forbidding women to fight professionally.

Christy's next appearance also ran into unexpected problems. She was set to fight Mexico's Maria de las Nieves Garcia at Madison Square Garden on June 6, 1998 on the undercard of Holyfield vs. Akinwande, but Garcia tested pregnant two days before the fight.

The Sumya Anani-Martin showdown finally came at the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, FL on December 18, 1998. Anani (138¾ lbs) bloodied Christy's nose in the first round and traded with her on equal terms in the second. Martin went down in the third, but referee Tommy Kimmons ruled it a slip. Anani went after her hard, staggering her and handing out punishment against the ropes. Christy rallied in the fourth to rock Anani with strong rights to the head. She continued strong in the fifth and sixth but Anani made her own comeback in the eighth and ninth, landing heavily and backing Martin up. Anani finished strongly and when it was all over Christy sported a bloody nose and a swollen right eye while Anani was unmarked. Judge Stu Winston scored the fight 95-95. Jay Kassees and Ric Bays scored it 96-94 for Anani, handing Martin her first loss since November 1989. "It wasn't my night", Martin said after the Anani fight. "I didn't feel like I could win even when I got to the arena. I'm not taking anything away from her. She's a good fighter. But it was a head butt that cut me earlier."

On April 24, 1999 at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., Christy returned to the ring and stopped Jovette Jackson at 0:36 of the first round. Martin floored Jackson 0:15 into the contest then delivered eight punches in a row to Jackson's head to end it in the first round.

On October 2, 1999 at the Hilton in Las Vegas, NV Martin weighed in at 143 lbs then dominated IWBF Junior Welterweight Champion Daniëlla Somers (138½ lbs) of Brecht, Belgium for five rounds before winning by TKO at 1:37 of the fifth. Christy landed powerful rights from the opening bell. One of these turned Somers around and left the IWBF champion hanging on the ropes for the TKO. "I can't believe it was this easy," Martin said in a post-fight interview. "I knew I had her from the very first punch I threw." Christy went on to say that she was ready to fight Lucia Rijker.

On March 3, 2000 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV Martin weighed in at 140 lbs and won an eight-round majority decision over Belinda Laracuente (also 140 lbs) of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Judges Carol Castellano and Patricia Jarman-Manning had it 77-75 for Martin while judge Dave Moretti had it 76-76. Martin was generally the aggressor and worked Laracuente's body. Christy admitted after the fight that Laracuente, whose record fell to 17-4-1, was "probably the best skilled boxer, mover and runner I have seen", adding that "the running style didn't work for Oscar De La Hoya and it didn't work for her." Some of Martin's problems in the Laracuente fight were later attributed to a swollen right foot and broken finger resulting from a fracas with Lucia Rijker a few days earlier during a workout session. Christy was completing a television interview in front of about 500 fans and media when Rijker showed up. A melee ensued with both women throwing punches. During the incident, assistant trainer Jeff Bailey accidentally stepped on Christy's right foot and she needed a steroid shot to combat the swelling. "Lucia can sit back and laugh and be happy she caused me to have a tougher fight than I should have had," Christy told Orlando sportswriter George Diaz, "but bottom line is that I tried to fight and put on a good show for the people."

On May 12, 2001 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Christy (144 lbs) moved her record to 43-2-2 (31 KO's) with a ten-round majority (98-92,97-93,95-95) decision over Kathy Collins (5'5", 142¼ lbs) of Plainview, NY. Both landed their share of bombs in a rugged fight but Martin's experience showed as she outhit and out boxed Collins in most rounds. (Martin fought more cautiously than usual but she threw 463 punches to Collins's 370 and connected with 38% compared to Collins's 28%.)

On November 17, 2001 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, Christy (144 lbs) moved her record to 44-2-2 (31 KOs) with a 10-round unanimous (99-91,98-92,98-92) decision over WIBF welterweight champion Lisa Holewyne (146 lbs) of Crawford, Texas. Christy fought one of her best fights to slip many of Holewyne's punches and control her with combinations. She also rocked the Texan several times with her patented booming right. Still, Holewyne put up a good fight throughout an entertaining bout.

On December 6, 2002 at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI, Christy (144 lbs) returned to the ring after a year away and won a ten-round unanimous (97-93, 97-93, 99-91) decision over Mia St. John of Calabasas, CA. St. John, who had fought from featherweight to junior welterweight had bulked up to 140½ lbs for this fight but was able to withstand a constant stream of body shots from Martin to go the distance. St. John spent the early part of the fight in retreat. "I stunk tonight because I was so rusty," Christy told the Associated Press after the fight. "But give Mia credit. No one thought she had a chance and she showed a lot of heart out there. She gave me a lot of trouble with her movement." St. John slipped to 26-2-1 (13 KO) with the loss.

On August 23, 2003 at Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, Biloxi, MS, Laila Ali (5'10", 162 lbs) knocked out Martin (officially 159 lbs) at 0:48 in the fourth round. The scheduled ten-rounder was for the IBA super middleweight title. Martin charged out to start the fight and both landed heavily in the opening round but Ali staggered Martin against the ropes at the end of the session and Martin ended the round already red and swollen under her left eye. Ali again rocked Martin early in the second. Martin came back to land some shots near the end of the second but Ali knocked her down in the third with a string of quick hard uppercuts. Martin was dropped by a rapid-fire barrage of leather in the fourth and could not beat the count. Martin hadn't been able to counter Ali's reach advantage and get to within range to land combinations that might have slowed Ali down. "She was just too big," said Martin afterwards, adding, "she was in great shape and she kept on coming. She still fights like an amateur, but all around she was just too big." Ali conceded that "Christy is tough, but I'm definitely stronger than her. She cracked me, but she didn't hurt me." Ali improved her record to 16-0-0 (13 KO) with the win while Martin fell to 45-3-2 (31 KO) with her first loss by knockout.

The fight was billed as the "superfight" of women's boxing to determine who was "the Greatest" ... but its credentials were dubious because of the physical mismatch. The actual weight discrepancy may have been much larger than was recorded at the weigh-in. Martin only weighed 147 on fight night, but never used size as an excuse always saying she knew how big Lalia was when the contract was signed.

On April 30, 2005 at Isle of Capri Casino in Lula, MS Christy returned to the ring to prepare for a possible upcoming bout with Lucia Rijker. She weighed in at 144 lbs and knocked out Lana Alexander (134½ lbs) of Nashville, TN at 1:10 in the second round of a scheduled six-rounder.

The fight that all boxing fans had been waiting for was finally set, the key was Rijker's role as an advisor and as an on-screen villain in 2005's Oscar-winning movie "Million Dollar Baby". This sparked more interest in women's boxing and brought media attention back to Lucia. Bob Arum decided it was time to strike while the buzz was hot and parlayed the "winner take all" idea into "Million Dollar Lady" promotion, a deal whereby both fighters would be guaranteed $250,000 but the winner would earn an extra $750,000 to make the first individual million dollar payout in women's sport history. After all of the trash talking that Lucia Rijker had done about Christy, Lucia pulled out of this fight less than a week before with a questionable injury. When Lucia didn't try to get this fight rescheduled, she disappeared from the page of women's boxing. Christy now says that she should have retired when this fight didn’t happen. She fought on as a job not for the love of the sport.

After the cancellation of the Rijker fight, Christy accepted a $75,000 purse to fight IBA Junior Welterweight champion Holly Holm of Albuquerque, NM. On September 16, 2005 at the Isleta Casino near Albuquerque, before a sellout crowd of 3000, the southpaw Holm (5'8", 142½ lbs) won a clear 10-round unanimous (100-92,98-92,100-92) decision over Christy (141½ lbs) in a non-title Main Event. Martin saw it differently, telling George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: "She didn't box. She ran. She didn't hit me 10 times ... it was like trying to fight a kangaroo." Martin, however, had been unable to exercise her fight plan, which she'd summed up before the fight as "I hear she moves a lot. I've never seen her fight, but I expect she's going to feel bigger than me because of her height. She's a pretty broad girl, too, so I'm expecting her to come and jump at me. I just have to get inside-that's where her advantages go out the window."

On October 6, 2006 at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley, ID, Christy returned to the ring for a 10-rounder with Angel Martinez of Dallas, TX, who had had three close fights with Holly Holm (two losses and a majority draw). The fight with Angel ended with controversy as Martinez was awarded a decision win.

Christy got back in the ring on June 2, '07 against Amy Yuratovac at the L'Auberge du Lac Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles, LA earning a hard fought six round decision. Amy was down in the first round by a vicious right hand, but was able to recover to go the distance with Christy.

On July 18, 2008 at the Reliant Arena in Houston, TX Christy Martin (154¼ lbs) and Valerie Mahfood (160 lbs) of Beaumont, TX, fought to an eight round majority (78-74 Martin, 75-75, 75-75) draw. According to the Houston Chronicle, Martin displayed her boxing technique from the opening bell, connecting with combinations that caused Mahfood to stumble and "Boos engulfed the arena at the end of the fight". Martin stated in a post fight interview that she felt that she won every round, and that she had landed the bigger shots.

On August 1, 2009, Christy returned home for "The Coal Miners Daughter Comes Home" bout against Cimberly Harris. Before a biased crowd in Huntington, WV Christy she won a six round decision over Harris. The bout didn't produce the fireworks that Christy had hoped for but it prepared her for a title challenge against Dakota Stone. At the New York State Fair in Syracuse on Sept 9, 2009 Dakota Stone fell victim to Christy's power punches. The Coal Miners Daughter won a ten round decision and the WBC World Title even though she broke her hand in the final round. The bout stole the show and gave the fans their money's worth as Christy bounced bomb after bomb off Stone's head. After surgery to repair the broken hand Christy went back to the gym only to tear the meniscus in her knee forcing another surgery and time away from the sport she loves.

Following a vicious attack on Nov 23, 2010 by James V Martin, who had been her husband and trainer for many years, Christy reached out to Miguel Diaz to become her trainer and guiding force. Miguel spoke with Bob Arum and Christy signed to fight for Top Rank in March of 2011. Christy was scheduled to fight March 12, 2011, but due to a broken rib during sparring the fight was postponed. She finally got back in the ring June 4 against Dakota Stone at The Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The bout showed that Christy could box as well as bang, but Christy broke her hand in the fourth round of a six rounder. This time the hand was crushed, broken in nine places due to landing punches with so much force numerous times on Stone's head. The fight was stopped with :51 seconds to go in the final round giving the win to Dakota Stone. Christy had begged the referee and the ringside physician to let her finish the fight, but to no avail the bout was stopped denying Christy win number fifty.

During surgery to repair the damage to her hand, Christy had a stroke that would temporarily left her unable to walk, talk and see correctly. She quickly regained her ability to walk and talk, but has been left with double vision that is corrected with a prism in her glasses.

With her love of boxing , Christy attempted one more fight trying to reach the 50 win goal she had set fighting Mia St John in Fresno, CA Aug 1012. It would not be in the cards for Christy to reach that 50 win plateau; she dropped a decision to Mia. After the fight, she said she realized it was a bad mistake to get into the ring after having a stroke and called an end to her career.

Since the end of Christy Martin’s career she has been inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, The International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame and The Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame.

There is also no question that she and Deirdre Gogharty together made women's boxing a media event in the 1990's, nor that the attention gathered by their exciting PPV fight helped to draw other women into the ring in large numbers. The ones who have developed good technical boxing skills and strong amateur backgrounds before turning pro may be the best hope for a good future for competitive women's boxing.

When Christy Martin began boxing, the women's pro sport was poorly publicized. That was changed, maybe forever, by the attention gathered by her televised fights

¢ Laila Ali 08/23/03
¢ Mia St. John 12/06/02

¢ Jeanne Martinez 03/03/01
¢ Belinda Laracuente 03/03/00
¢ Isra Girgrah 08/23/97
¢ Andrea Deshong 06/28/97
¢ Bethany Payne 11/09/96
¢ Melinda Robinson 09/07/96
¢ Deirdre Gogarty 03/16/96

¢ Daniella Somers 10/02/99
¢ Marcela Eliana Acuna 12/05/97
¢ Sue Chase 02/10/96

¢ Dakota Stone 06/04/11(highlight clips)
¢ Lisa Holewyne 11/17/01
¢ Kathy Collins 05/12/01
¢ Sabrina Hall 12/02/00

¢ Dianna Lewis 08/12/00
¢ Jovette Jackson 04/24/99
¢ Christine Robinson 09/19/98
¢ Del Pettis 02/24/96
¢ Melinda Robinson 01/13/96
¢ Erica Schmidlin 12/16/95
¢ Angela Buchanan 08/12/95
¢ Beverly Szymanski 04/01/95
¢ Chris Kreuz 09/12/94
¢ Laura Serrano 05/07/94
¢ Sonja Donlevy 03/04/94
¢ Susie Melton 01/29/94 USSB
¢ Sumya Anani 12/18/98
¢ Cheryl Nance 08/29/98

¢ Beverly Szymanski 10/15/93

¢ Amy Yuratovac 06/02/07
¢ Lana Alexander 04/30/05


  • Global ID:
  • 15494
  • Birthdate:
  • 1968-06-12
  • Division:
  • Light Middleweight
  • Stance:
  • Orthodox
  • Height:
  • 5′ 4½″ / 164cm
  • Reach:
  • 64″ / 163cm
  • US ID:
  • 032257
  • Alias:
  • Coalminer's Daughter
  • Country:
  • United States
  • Residence:
  • Orlando, Florida, United States
  • Birth Place:
  • Bluefield, West Virginia, United States
  • Birth Name:
  • Christy Renea Salter
  • Suspension:
  • Won 49 (KO 31) + lost 6 (KO 2) + drawn 3 = 58 rounds boxed 275 KO% 53.45

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