The Boxing Writers Association of America has named a fighter of the year as part of its annual awards for decades. It will continue to carry on that tradition, and the organization has announced that it will begin giving out a women's fighter of the year award as well.
It will be named the Christy Martin Women's Fighter of the Year in honor of the trailblazing fighter. It will be presented for the first time at the 2018 awards banquet, which will take place at a location and on a date to be determined in the spring.
"With the recent influx of talent from the amateur ranks, the beginning of network television support and the willingness of major promoters to have female fights on their shows, we're entering a golden age of women's boxing," Thomas Gerbasi, chairman of the BWAA women's boxing committee, said in a news release. "And as such, there is no better time than now for the Boxing Writers Association of America to start recognizing the women who are not just deserving of this award, but all women who step through the ropes to compete."
Gerbasi, who writes about women's boxing for Ring magazine, will be joined on the voting committee for the award by former boxer Sue Fox and longtime boxing writer David Avila, who has focused on women's boxing for years.
Martin (49-7-3, 31 KOs), known as "The Coal Miner's Daughter," boxed professionally from 1989 to 2012 and became a sensation with a string of exciting fights on Mike Tyson undercards in the 1990s. She even landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Martin said she was honored to have the award named in her honor.
"It's really overwhelming and satisfying because now I feel people did take notice of my career and they remember that I did open a lot of doors for the women that are coming along these days," Martin said. "This is forever. In five, 10, 15 years, they're going to say it's the Christy Martin Award, so people are going to have to Google Christy Martin to see what she did. There's satisfaction in that because everything I did will live on forever.
"It's important because it shows that women are now finally getting recognition with a fighter of the year award. In the past, it's always been the male fighters, and the female fighters never got the same recognition. But I think with amateur boxing programs now being an option for women, it's opened up and the sport is finally getting exposure worldwide."