Ahead of the fifth annual Willie Pep Invitational at Dunkin' Donuts Park over the weekend, hall of famer Christy Martin made an appearance at the Charter Oak Boxing Academy (COBA) in Hartford to give a motivational speech and sign her new book.
Martin, who is regarded by many as the most successful and prominent female boxer in the United States, teamed up with boxing writer Ron Borges to write “Fighting for Survival.” The book shares Martin’s story of how she survived multiple stab wounds, a shooting and near death by her former coach and husband following years of domestic violence.
In 2021, Netflix also released Untold: Deal With The Devil, a harrowing documentary chronicling her career and personal life. After Christy told her story at COBA in Hartford, fighters of all ages said they were inspired and grateful to meet her.
“It gave me hope and it inspired me to know that everything was going to be OK or that it could be OK,” said Shelly Vincent, a professional boxer from New London. “It was beautiful to meet her today and so inspiring.”
“Her demeanor, her mentality, everything,” added Jahnyah Lumpkin, a 16-year-old East Hartford High School student who boxes at the Charter Oak Boxing Academy. “I'm currently writing my college essay a little bit inspired by her with a theme of being strong in your weakest moments.”
“It's about knowing that you can get back up again,” said 14-year-old Academy of Aerospace and Engineering student Naomi Cortes, who also boxes at the Charter Oak Boxing Academy. “Seeing Christy get back up so many times over and over and persevere through so many tough times in her life is what really inspires me about her -- her mental toughness.”
“Absolutely, it makes me feel great to know that my story is touching this next generation of amateur boxers but what I’m so impressed by, they’re making a difference whether it be with the domestic violence group, sexuality, drug addiction, whatever it may be (that) they’re involved with,” said Martin. “They are really changing the world.”
Martin especially enjoyed getting to speak to the young boxers at COBA, which is a grassroots non-profit organization that says it aims to keep at-risk kids in school, out of drugs, gangs and crime and on the road to post-secondary education, job training or public service. COBA also says it offers kids the opportunity to become great athletes and “champions in the ring” as well as “champions of life” outside the ring.
“I’m so honored to be able to come to Hartford and come to this COBA gym and to be involved and associated with this program because they are what amateur boxing is about but they’re what the next generation of young people are about,” said Martin.