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Sports

Christy Martin and Bernard Hopkins headline Boxing Hall of Fame class

Christy Martin, left, fights Andrea DeShong
A bloodied Christy Martin, left, fights Andrea DeShong in Las Vegas in 1997. Martin was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the first year women were included on the ballot.
(John Gurzinski / AFP/Getty Images)

Middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, four-division champion Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico, three-division champ Shane Mosley and women’s star Christy Martin have been elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

This was the first year that women were on the ballot. Barbara Buttrick of England and Lucia Rijker of the Netherlands joined Martin in making history as the first female boxers elected. Buttrick was elected in the trailblazers category, while Martin and Rijker were elected in the modern category.

Also elected in voting by members of the Boxing Writers Assn. and a panel of international boxing historians were promoters Lou DiBella and Kathy Duva in the nonparticipant category and journalists Bernard Fernandez and Thomas Hauser in the observer category.

Posthumous honorees include lightweight champion Frank Erne in the old timer category, Paddy Ryan in the pioneer category and promoter Dan Goossen in the nonparticipant category.

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Nicknamed “The Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Martin, a native of West Virginia, began boxing on a dare in 1986 while still in college, entering and winning a “tough woman“ contest. Although she graduated with honors from Concord College, Martin elected to pursue the sweet science and turned pro in 1989 while working as a substitute teacher in Tennessee.

Martin brought women’s boxing to the mainstream in the mid-1990s, becoming the first woman to sign a boxing contract with promoter Don King and landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She won the WBC super welterweight championship in 2009 and compiled a 49-7-3 record with 31 knockouts in her career.

“I just wanted to be a fighter and fit into the world of boxing and this is a dream come true,” Martin said of her Hall of Fame selection.

Bernard Hopkins
Bernard Hopkins wears his executioner mask as he enters the ring for a 2001 fight against Felix Trinidad.
(Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images)

Hopkins holds the record for the most successful title defenses in middleweight boxing history at 20. He’ll join former middleweight champions Carlos Monzon, who successfully defended 14 times, and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who defended 12 times, as a Hall of Famer on June 14.

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Mosley, known for his hand speed, beat Oscar De La Hoya twice during a pro career that produced a record of 49-10-1 with 41 KOs.

Buttrick, who began boxing in her native England, came to the United States in the 1950s and won a world championship while breaking down barriers.

“This is wonderful news. It means a lot to me,“ Buttrick said. “After I started out with everybody against me back in the 1940s, it is nice to be recognized.”

Rijker, the first licensed female boxer in her home country, was nicknamed “The Dutch Destroyer” and certainly lived up to the moniker. She made her pro debut in 1996, signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank and won all 17 of her professional fights with 14 knockouts.


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