Christy Salters, formally Christy Martin, is a former boxing world champion who dominated in the ring and paved the way for other successful female boxers who would come after her. Her and her ex-husband and former trainer Jim Martin appeared to have the perfect relationship. In one particularly well known picture, he holds her up in the air as she raises her gloves victoriously after another hard fought win. She is covered in sweat and smiling proudly. What the world didn’t know then was that Martin was incredibly physically abusive to his wife, according to Today.
Martin used to brag that he would transform his wife into the most successful female fighter of all time and earn himself a heap of cash in the process. Now he is behind bars, currently serving a 25 year sentence for trying to take her life. In 2012, he was convicted of stabbing and shooting Salters, whom he was still married to at the time.
Christy Martin, the former world boxing champion, is one of nearly 1 million American women alive today who have been shot, or shot at, by an intimate partner.— Everytown (@Everytown) March 30, 2019
Read her story: https://t.co/DnDAdvFhKe
The incident, which took place in 2010, occurred at the couple’s Florida home. Martin shot Salters in the chest with a handgun, with the bullet narrowly missing her heart. Against all odds, she survived the attack. After ten days in the hospital, she was released and left in the middle of the night so as to avoid the prying eyes of the press. Shortly after, she returned to the boxing ring by herself, because it was the place she felt in control and safe. She then became involved with non-profit organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safety, which work to fight domestic abuse.
Now, Salters looks back upon her tumultuous marriage and what she learned from it. While Martin tried to take credit for her success, she now realizes that it was her own hard work that build her highly acclaimed reputation as a female boxer.
“The name thing is touchy because Jim would always tell me, ‘I don’t care what happens, you can divorce me, you can leave, whatever. You’ll always be Christy Martin,’ And I would tell him, ‘No, I’m going to go back to Christy Salters.’ But the very truth is, he was right: Christy is who people know. Christy Martin is the boxer that made the name. But I made the name. He didn’t. I made the name.”
Just as she said she would, Salters changed her name and cut all ties with her ex-husband. Since surviving the harrowing incident, she has become an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse. Looking back, she wishes she had someone to confide in about what she was going through. Now she hopes to be that person for others in similar circumstances.