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5'3" flyweight/junior flyweight Patty "Ironheart" Martinez was born on December 29th 1971 in San Diego, California. She attended San Diego High until 1988 and began boxing in 1994. She now lives and works in North Miami, Florida where she works as a court translator.

Linda Carillo and Patty MartinezShe won the 106-lb division in the inaugural USA Boxing amateur championships in Augusta, Georgia in July, 1997. In her preliminary bout, she defeated Yvonne Caples of Berkeley, California by a 6-0 score. In the semifinal bout (see left) she defeated Linda Carrillo of South El Monte, California by a 5-0 margin. Ever since she began boxing, Martinez had been eager to compete against the best in the nation, so she was disappointed that her opponent for the final, Amanda Fussell of Troup, Texas, was unable to continue in the tournament, so Patricia won her national title by a walkover rather than in the ring.

``I didn't know if we were ever going to have a national championship and I really didn't think it would be so soon,'' Martinez said, adding about not competing in a true final: ``It's disappointing. You want it so long and work so much for the final. If I hadn't had the two preliminary bouts, I wouldn't have wanted to take this (belt) home.''

There's no question in my mind that Martinez truly earned her title, however. Linda Carrillo, who she defeated in the 1997 semifinal, went on to win the national title in 1998 and again in 1999; her preliminary bout opponent Yvonne Caples went on to be a successful pro boxer and won the IFBA junior flyweight title in 2003.

Martinez didn't wait long before making her own professional debut. 

On September 20, 1997 at Round One Boxing in Boca Raton, Florida, she overwhelmed Natasha Wilburn of Atlanta from the opening bell of a scheduled four-rounder on the first all-female boxing card to be held in South Florida. Martinez landed left-right combinations to her outclassed opponent's face almost at will, and Wilburn did not come out to face her at the start of the third round. ``I was disappointed I wasn't able to get more rounds in,'' Martinez said. ``I was looking forward for some good rounds in the ring, but it wasn't to be.'' Wilburn fell to 0-2 with the loss.

On March 6 1998, in War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Patricia won a four-round unanimous decision over Maribel Ocasio-Soto of Puerto Rico, who fell to 1-1-2 with the loss.

On May 5, 1998 in Biloxi, Mississippi, USA, Patricia won a four-round unanimous decision over Brenda Rouse of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, who fell to 5-4-1 with the loss. Rouse had been boxing professionally since 1996.

On June 14, 1998 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Patricia (109 lbs) lost a six-round unanimous (58-56) decision to Anissa Zamarron (108 lbs) of Austin, Texas. Anissa, who had been boxing professionally since 1995 and had been in six ten-round world title fights, used her ring experience to hand Patricia her first pro loss. Martinez took the fight to Zamarron in the first two rounds but the Texan fought effectively while backing up. Zamarron then began to take charge in the third as Martinez faded. As Martinez's punches got wilder, Zamarron kept herself in range to pound at Martinez's head with a steady stream of lefts and rights, and she came on stronger every round after turning the bout her way in the third. ESPN2's punch count was 546 thrown and 274 landed (43%) by Zamarron, 476 thrown and 150 landed (35%) by Martinez.  Zamarron advanced to 8-9-1 (4 KO) with the win. Her record is deceptive because her losses were in tough fights against the best women in this weight class worldwide, all going the distance, and many with close decisions.

On July 10, 1998 in Miami, Florida, Patricia rebounded with a six-round unanimous decision win in a rematch with Maribel Ocasio-Soto, dropping the Puerto Rican's record to 2-3-2 (0 KO).

On February 27, 1999 at Miccosukee Indian Gaming in Miami, Florida, Patricia (105 lbs) rematched with Natasha Wilburn (107 lbs) of Atlanta, this time winning by a TKO at 1:39 in the fourth round.

On July 9 1999, she fought Italian pro debuter Sonja De Biase in Vigo, Spain, winning a six-round unanimous decision.  De Biase, who could not  get a boxing license in Italy at this time and had to fight on a German permit, hasn't lost since.

This was to be Patricia Martinez's last appearance before a three-year absence from the ring, brought on by the illness of her husband and trainer, Carlos.  She then had difficulty getting opponents to face her when she was ready to return to pro boxing.

vs. Terri Moss in her comeback boutShe finally made her comeback on August 30, 2002 at the Holiday Inn Center in Manchester, New Hampshire,  advancing to 7-1-0 (2 KO) with a four-round unanimous decision over Terri Moss of Miami, Florida. This was described to me as "a rock-em, sock-em contest that wowed the 300 or so spectators. Martinez's lightning quick combinations punished Moss' body and midsection ... any ignorant preconceived notions I had that female boxing was just some sort of pugilistic burlesque show were quickly put to rest after seeing the preparedness, dedication and professionalism of these fighters." Moss fell to 0-3-0 (0 KO) with the loss. 

On October 18, 2002 at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Florida, Patricia (109 lbs)  knocked out Natasha Wilburn (106 lbs) at 1:19 in the fourth round. Martinez used her more accurate punching to control wild rushes by Wilburn, who fell to 1-12-0 (0 KO) with the loss, her third stoppage by Martinez.

On November 14, 2002 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, Patricia (110½ lbs) won a unanimous (40-36) four-round decision over Maribel Zurita (5'0", 110½ lbs) of San Antonio, Texas. Martinez bloodied Zurita's nose in the opening round and continued to control the fight with her aggression and accurate punching. According to a report sent to me at the Women's Boxing Page:  "both had their moments, but in the end it was the hometown support and her excellent training at the hands of Norman Wilson, Chico Rivas and Josť Guzman that gave Patty Martinez the unanimous win. Patty was explosive, thrived in trading with Zurita, and forced the action throughout the bout. She was very popular with the fans, who loudly appreciated the effort and the sportsmanship displayed by both contestants."  Martinez's win dropped Zurita's record to 4-3-1 (0 KO).

On January 30, 2003 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, Patricia (109 lbs) scored a TKO over unranked Nancy Bonilla (107½ lbs) of Puerto Rico at 1:20 of the first round. Bonilla, who was described as "outboxed, outgunned and outclassed" in this bout, fell to 1-2-0 (1 KO).

On March 13, 2003 again at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Patricia (107 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (58-56,59-55,60-54) decision over then #1 ranked Wendy Rodriguez (4'11", 108½ lbs). Martinez outworked and out-aggressed the durable and elusive Rodriguez on the way to a win that re-established her as a legitimate world title contender. Rodriguez fell to 9-2-3 (1 KO) with the loss.

Patty (black/red) vs. Yahaira Bonilla in May 2003
© Copyrighted photo by Tony R.

On May 29, 2003 again at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Patricia (109 lbs) advanced her pro record to 12-1-0 (5 KO) with a TKO over Yahaira Bonilla (109½ lbs) of Camoy, Puerto Rico at 1:44 in the second round. After a feeling-out round, Martinez knocked Bonilla down twice in the second. The previously undefeated Puerto Rican was gamely trying to continue until the referee stopped the bout. Bonilla fell to 2-1 (1 KO) with the loss.

Anissa Zamarron, the only boxer to hand Patricia a pro defeat, also returned to the ring in 2002 after an extended absence (in her case, a retirement that she changed her mind about). It would be interesting to see a rematch of their 1998 bout!

Patty is small and pretty, and is often told she doesn't "look like a fighter", a source of some amusement to her. "I ask them what they think a fighter is supposed to look like!", she says.

She says her favorite fighters are Sugar Ray Leonard ("he was adaptive and versatile"), Rocky Marciano ("so much heart and will to win") and Sugar Shane Mosely ("I love his personality, he has such star quality.") Which is something she's not lacking herself ... 

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Page last updated: Monday, 10 December 2012


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