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Angelica Martinez
©Copyrighted photo taken by J&P Photography


5’8" welterweight Angelica “Angel” Martinez was born on May 21, 1976 in Oceanside, California. She now fights out of Dallas, Texas. 

In middle school Angel was more of a musician ... “Most of my family that I knew were musicians", she days, "so I thought maybe that’s what I should try."  She played the alto saxophone all the way through college.

Growing up had not been easy for her. She was bullied for most of her childhood and as time went by was bound and determined to become something other than what her peers made her out to be. Martinez's mother worked two jobs just to be able to make ends meet for her brother and her. "It was hard not having her around most of the time, so I always had to find a way to defend myself," added Martinez.

Martinez began her athletic career in high school. “I grew up wanting to do nothing but play basketball", she told WBAN, "and that’s what I did everyday when I was a kid.”  In the summer of 1990 she was selected to play AAU basketball and went to tournaments in Mexico and Europe representing the United States. She went on to graduate in the top ten in her class and earned a basketball scholarship to Southwest Texas State University. She later lost that scholarship due to a knee injury. “That really depressed me. I started drinking a lot and lost all hope.”  Once the knee mended, Martinez joined the Marine Corps and spent two years at Camp Pendleton specializing in explosives.  She later began working as a bartender and moved to Dallas to start over.

Angel told WBAN that she "accidentally" discovered boxing while trying to lose weight she gained since losing her basketball scholarship. She went to a gym in Arlington, Texas where she met a trainer named Jose.  “He’s the one who introduced me to the whole idea of boxing. He said it was the best cardio,” she says.  However, Jose never showed up to the gym so Angel went on to learn what she could from what was around her. “I was so desperate for training that I started training with the wrestlers that worked out there. They threw me around and all kinds of stuff.” 

Bent on learning the art of boxing she sought out someone who would not think she was a joke, and out of curiosity, she attended an amateur tournament. That ignited her interest and she told a friend that she wouldn’t mind competing. Her friend laughed and said that she was too old and that she couldn’t do it. “That’s all it took”, she says.  Her interest in boxing steadily turned into a passion and that’s all she could think of.

She competed in five amateur bouts and with four ending in RSC she decided to take her trainer’s advice and go pro. She dedicated herself to boxing so much that all her money went to equipment and training. Living out of her truck and training six days a week she finally got her shot at her pro debut.

On July 5, 2003, Martinez (149½ lbs) made her pro debut at Club Life in Dallas, winning by a unanimous (40-36,40-36,40-6) decision over Morgan McCarly (150 lbs) of Rosenburg, Texas,  who fell to 1-1. “With all I had gone through to this point there was no way I was gonna go at it half way. It was all or nothing”, said Martinez.

On August 28, 2003 at the Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas Angel (141 lbs) knocked out Mary Wells (139½ lbs) of San Antonio, Texas at 1:48 of the second round. Mary fell to 3-2 while Angel was getting a taste of what was to come!

vs. Angel Martinez
Holly Holm vs. Angel Martinez in December 2003
© Copyrighted photo by Chris Cozzone

On December 12, 2003 at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Angel weighed in at 142 lbs and faced undefeated local favorite Holly Holm (144 lbs).  Holm won by a six-round unanimous (59-54,59-55,59-55) decision and improved her record to 6-0-1 (2 KO).  Martinez told WBAN, “Holm was heavily favored to win. But again, it was a clash of styles as Holm’s kickboxing background showed against a well-timed classic boxing style.”

vs. Angel Martinez
Holly Holm fought Angel Martinez to a draw in May 2004
© Copyrighted photo by Chris Cozzone

On May 15, 2004 at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio, Colorado, Holly Holm and Angel fought to a six-round majority draw (59-55 for Holm, but two 57-57 scorecards). Holm appeared to control and outland Martinez but Martinez's crisp rights connected enough to win her several rounds on the judges' scorecards.Martinez started slowly while the southpaw Holm peppered her with jabs and an occasional straight left. At the end of the round, they started to mix it up and Martinez landed a good right inside. Martinez took over in the second round, walking Holm into a solid short right whenever Holly tried to throw something at close quarters. Holm adjusted in the third and out-hustled a less-busy Martinez. In the fourth, they went toe-to-toe with Holm, now bleeding from her nose, giving more than she was getting. Holly landed well with uppercuts and right hooks while Martinez focused on her highly effective right. The final two rounds saw Holm trying to outbox Martinez, throwing more often and out- flurrying on their many close exchanges, but Martinez landing the cleanest, hardest shots. Both camps thought they’d won the fight. Martinez’s trainer, Pete Rojas, thought that Angel's cleaner shots should have given her the win while Holm’s trainer, Mike Winkeljohn, felt that Holly had won by controlling the action better.  Holm moved to 7-0-2 (3 KOs) while Martinez progressed to 2-1-1, (2 KOs). 

On November 5, 2005 Martinez returned to the ring to meet Tanya Gallegos of Colorado in the Southside Boxing Pavilion in Dallas, Texas. She dominated Gallegos for four rounds and won by a 40-36 on all three judges' scorecards, dropping Gallegos to 3-3. Her inactivity showed in the ring and Martinez felt that she was far from showing the world of boxing what she was made of.

It wasn’t until 2006 that she got a good chance to prove herself.

On January 27, 2006 at the Palladium in Hollywood, California, Angel won an eight-round unanimous (78-74,80-72,80-72) decision over Yvonne Reis of Fort Lauderdale, Flroida for the WIBA Intercontinental Welterweight title, dropping Reis to 5-9-1.  “I thought, well if I am to prove to myself that this is where I belong, what better place than in the ring with the WIBA belt around my waist?" says Martinez.

On June 10, 2006 at the Isleta Casino in Albuquerque, Holly Holm (145¼ lbs) again had her hands full in her third fight with Angel (147¼ lbs), who had substituted at short notice for Lisa Holewyne in a ten-round bout for the WBA Welterweight title. “It all happened really fast", Angel told WBAN, "I was coming into the gym on Wednesday only to find out my trainer was on the phone to fight that Saturday.”  Holly Holm started well in this fight but had to survive a late-round charge from the aggressive Martinez to escape with a hard-earned unanimous (98-92) decision for the title. Holm improved her record to 14-1-2 (5 KOs) with the win while Martinez fell to 4-2-1 (1 KO).

According to a ringside report from Chris Cozzone, "Holm ... went to work at the sound of the bell, keeping Martinez at the end of her jab and popping her with solid straight lefts while using her footwork. Martinez, admittedly unprepared for ten rounds with the short notice, paced herself, but timed big counter right hands that found their mark. Holm utilized rare right hooks in the second, and the bout heated up as Martinez had marginally better success with her counter rights. Still, Holm retained control of the ring—for at least seven of ten rounds, it would turn out—and her irksome jab and lashing left was enough to raise a mouse under Martinez’s left eye. At the end of the round, the two went toe-to-toe in the neutral corner, four seconds past the bell. Holm continued to put rounds in the bank in the third and fourth rounds, jabbing and landing lefts while Martinez had to settle for the occasional right. The Dallas fighter had better success in the fourth when she backed Holly into the ropes but by the end of the round, Martinez, sporting two mice now, one under each eye, was going to have to do something dramatic to turn the fight around. Martinez turned up the pressure in the fifth and had her best round so far in the sixth—but neither round could be taken from Holm, whose big lefts scored repeatedly and whose footwork made her too elusive for the shorter Martinez, who had only an occasional but fleeting flurry to the body and those big right hand counters. Martinez tired in the seventh, but in the final moments, she landed a big right that stumbled Holm, who might’ve been off-balance. But in the eighth and ninth rounds, it was a different fight. Holm yielded to Martinez’s consistent pressure and took some big shots from Martinez, who finally appeared to be getting to the home-towner. Several times, Holm stood her ground and the two brawled, but it was Martinez who was giving better than getting. Holm went back to boxing in the last round but the steady pressure—almost desperate now—from Martinez made it a toss-up round."

Holm’s trainer Mike Winkeljohn had this to say of Martinez: “That girl can flat out fight!”  Richard Stevens of the Albuquerque Tribune said, “Martinez won more than the two rounds accredited by the judges, and probably won the last three."  “I knew she’d be tough,” admitted Holm, "she was getting that counter-right in but there was nothing that made me go ‘whew!’ or see stars. I was tired at the end, I don’t know why, and should’ve finished stronger—I knew she’d finish strong.”  Holm added that Martinez was much tougher than Christy Martin, who “was easier to counter."

Martinez told WBAN: "I can’t wait until I finally have a chance to finally prove that I am world champion material. That’s the kind of stuff I work for. That’s why I could take a world title fight in a one day notice. I may not be a world champion just yet but the ones that are better watch out cause here I come.”

On July 8, 2006 at Fitzgerald's Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, Angel (146 lbs) won a six-round majority decision (59-55, 58-56, 57-57) over Miriam Brakache (145 lbs) of Atlanta, Georgia, who fell to 4-3-0 (1 KO) with the loss.

On October 6, 2006 at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho, Angel won a ten-round unanimous (97-96,97-93,96-94) decision over women's boxing legend Christy Martin of Orlando, Florida, who fell to 46-5-2 (31 KO's).   According to a WBAN ringside report from Steve Enselmo, "The obvious thing right off the bat was the fact that Martinez had quite a substantial height and reach advantage, which many thought would be difficult to overcome. But ... Martin used superior hand and foot speed while mixing up double and triple jabs with a hard body attack to win rounds 1-3. Round 4 changed the complexion of the fight as for some unexplained reason Martin opted to stand toe to toe with Martinez near the round's end. After getting the better of that heated exchange and having felt Martin's best, Martinez began showing some swagger of her own the rest of the fight as she continually walked down Martin. Martinez began to keep Martin at the end of a long stiff jab and some hard straight right hands which snapped the head of Martin back several times. Martin got back on track throughout the contest several times using her speed, and jabbing superiority, but every time she attempted to go toe to toe, came out on the short end. It was a strategy which cost her the fight in the end, as Martin probably out-punched Martinez 3-1, but was on the receiving end of the harder telling blows which ultimately would be her demise."

The crowd showed their support for the new star with a deafening ovation as she was declared the winner. After the fight Martinez had this to say. "I came in the fight in great condition and really didn't know what to expect. We formulated no specific plan, and just wanted to see what she had before we made our adjustments," said a very humble Martinez . "She is a great Champion, but I came here to win, not be an opponent. My corner made the right decisions during the fight and by round 3 or 4 I felt comfortable that we could win." When asked if she thought she was going to get the decision, the shy, reserved Martinez paused a long while then smiled and said, "I thought I won, but you never know. I landed the harder punches. She never hurt me at all. There were no surprises." After taking a deep breath Angelica Martinez's eyes got as big as saucers. It must have just sunken in that she was now a real player in women's boxing.

She later told the Dallas Voice that she thought Christy's strengths were her power and head movement, but "she’s very wide with her punches, which allows you to see everything before they hit their mark. She also has poor conditioning — she’s used to knocking out everyone with just one punch. That’s not much of a strategy."

On May 25, 2007 at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Layla McCarter (144 lbs) of Las Vegas, Nevada won a six-round unanimous (60-54,60-54,60-54) decision over Angel (146 lbs), who fell to 6-3-1 (1 KO) while McCarter improved to 24-13-5 (5 KO's). 

Angel trades with Holly Holm in September 2007
© Copyrighted photograph by J.B.Gallegos
courtesy Fresquez Productions

On September 21, 2007 at the Santa Ana Star Casino in Bernalillo, New Mexico, Holly Holm (142 lbs) of Albuquerque won the IFBA Welterweight title with a 10-round unanimous (99-91,99-91,96-94) decision over Angel (142 lbs). Holm outboxed Martinez for the most of the first eight rounds but Martinez stunned her with several hard rights in the eighth and the late rounds became nail-biters as the two traded punishing shots. "I don't take anything from Angel," Holm said after the bout. "She's tough. Her right hands are no joke."  (For more fight photos by J.B.Gallegos,  see Photo Gallery #450 on the WBAN Member Site).

Martinez also praised Holm: "She's an awesome fighter, the best in the world at welter. What can I say? I don't have excuses. It just wasn't my night."   Holm improved her record to
19-1-2 (5 KOs) while Martinez dropped to 6-4-1 (1 KOs).

On June 12, 2008, Fox Sports ‘The Best Damn Sports Show” aired the IFBA Welterweight World Title Fight at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, between Jill Emery (146¼ lbs) of Nerw York and the then #1 ranked Angelica (146¼ lbs).  Emery won a convincing 99-91,97-93,96-94 ten-round decision to win the vacant title. Martinez fell to 6-5-1 (1 KO) with the loss.

Martinez puts in three-hour sessions in her gym six days a week and runs from two to five miles a day.

To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to the WBAN Records Member Site

Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015


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