By Jackie Kallen
It’s amazing how powerful love can be. Just ask Christy Martin. Less than a year and a half ago the former champ was shot and stabbed by her husband Jim and left for dead. Today she is a radiant, happy, nightmare-free woman. She can talk about the event that almost killed her without crying or shaking. The twinkle is back in her eyes.
It helps that her partner, Sherry Lusk, sits at her side smiling and rubbing her back. It is evident that she has Christy’s back in every way and is there for her 100%.
“He thought I was dead, so he left me lying on the floor and went to take a shower,” Christy explained over dinner at The Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
But Martin didn’t die. She survived. She beat the odds and walked out of the hospital a week later. Standing at her side was Lusk. It was their love that infuriated Jim Martin in the first place. When she informed him that she was leaving him for Lusk, he flipped out and attacked her.
“When I heard the shower start, I managed to get myself up and get out of the house. I was bleeding profusely but somehow I got out to the street and flagged down a passing motorist. He was kind enough to drive me to the ER.”
It was touch and go at first and with Sherry at her side, she fought for her life. The bullet missed her heart by inches. She thought for awhile that she might not make it. And on top of everything else, Jim Martin was missing. No one could find him. The security around Christy was tight.
“No one knew if he’d try to come find me and finish the job.”
Thankfully, Jim was found a week later, hiding out in a shed behind someone’s house. He was taken into custody and hasn’t seen the light of day since. The case hit the courts in April and not surprisingly, he was found guilty. All that’s left is the sentencing, which is coming up soon. Jim Martin will die in prison. He will never walk free again and will most likely get 25 years to life.
In the meantime, Christy and Sherry have moved to Las Vegas and started their life together. Interestingly, they were high school sweethearts who found each other again on Facebook. They now plan to spend the rest of their lives together.
I have know Christy since she was Chrtisty Salters. We first met in 1989 in Punta Gorda, FL. She has always been a sweet, quiet, dedicated woman who lived for boxing. Jim was her trainer, her husband and–it turns out–her abuser.
“He was always abusive,” Christy admits. “mentally as well as physically. When he’d spar with me, he’d intentionally knock me out. It was always a matter of control.”
On August 14, Christy enters the ring again to rematch with Mia St. John. The fight will be at Table Mountain Casino in California, and both women are now in their forties. Christy turns 44 next week and Mia turns 45 the week after. The first fight was 10 years ago and Christy won easily.
Christy’s record is 49-6-3. She wants to score her 50th win and then hang up the gloves. Mia’s record is 46-11-2. It is a match that both women are itching for.
“I want to knock her out this time,” Christy says. “I want to show people that you can come back from adversity and succeed. I have been through hell this past year and a half, but I have put it all behind me.”
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen