March 3, 2000
It wasn't just a cat fight, more a tiger brawl that broke out on
Monday, Feb. 28 at a public workout session for David Reid and Christy
Martin in Los Angeles. The session was part of the pre-fight hype for
Friday's Reid-Trinidad extravaganza. Martin was scheduled for the
undercard. Don King was there, bent on tantalizing the multiple TV crews
and reporters. David Reid was in the ring working out when female boxing
star, Christy Martin encountered world champ Lucia Rijker in the
audience. Fur flew and the L.A. TV news that night rolled with Martin
spewing invective in the aftermath.
Rijker, who is acknowledged by many fight scholars as one of, if not
the best, female boxer of this era, has been trying to arrange a bout with
Christy Martin for three years. The cagey Martin has consistently refused.
Always a gracious sportswoman in the Tanya Harding tradition, the plump
Martin consistently declares that she won't fight the muscular Rijker
unless Lucia takes a chromosome test to prove that she's actually female.
Rijker always accepts that stipulation willingly, but Martin has
reportedly turned down very substantial offers (to the tune $750,000 and
more) to fight Rijker.
Rijker lives and trains in L.A. She had approached Martin at a 1998
press conference there, and asked her personally for a match. That
encounter triggered a screaming fit from Martin who was hauled off by her
handlers. When the pair met on Monday, the result was mayhem.
I had interviewed Rijker for some magazine stories over the years, and
was corresponding with her by e-mail. The documentary film "Shadow
Boxers," which includes an intense portrait of Rijker, won the Best
Documentary Award at the Santa Monica Film Festival on Sunday, Feb.27. The
same day, my article on women's boxing which focused on Rijker, appeared
in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. The first I heard about the Monday
clash was this e-mail message from Rijker on Tuesday morning.
"I have to tell you" she wrote, " that after a great Sunday, Monday
turned into a cowboy movie.
"I went to a public training session of Christy Martin and we ended up
in a fist fight. ( Not just with her but with her whole team) I got in
some good shots but against all those guys it was pretty tough.
"This women is an unfair player. She attacks me and than screams that I
hit her, which I did as a reflex on her attack. And the media (channel
2-7-10 in Los Angeles) love her dirty mouth. Now she's calling me a
"steroid dike." First she was calling me a man and now she's screaming
"dike," and more wonderful filthy stuff.
"Don King said on the news that he will put some lawyers on it and I
wonder if he really saw what happened.
"I am really sorry that it had to go like this, but let me tell you
that this is the dirtiest business that I have ever had to deal with."
Reporter Rich Marotta was at the public workout session and saw the
incident. His internet report described Rijker whispering something to
Martin. Marotta wrote that he'd like to know what Rijker said because
Martin reacted by shoving Rijker and screaming. Rijker reacted with a left
hook and Martin tackled her and the pair fell to the floor with Martin's
retinue landing on top of them, one man even putting a choke hold on
Rijker to get her off Martin.
In televised interviews immediately afterward, Martin claimed that
Rijker had "Sucker-punched" her, but still was unable to put her down.
Much of Martin's commentary was bleeped out by the news broadcasts.
Two days later, by phone, I asked Rijker what she said to Martin.
"I didn't say a word," says Rijker. "I stood there and she walked up to
me. I turned my face to the side to avoid a confrontation because the last
time I met her she was so hysterical. She shoved me and started screaming.
I hit her with a hook. Then it all got crazy."
"Afterwards I saw Don King and I shook his hand and said I was sorry.
He said, 'No, you're not. You wanted this.' And I said, you know, you're
right. I did."
Now, Rijker says, "I regret lowering myself to her level because it's
not my style. But it happened. The fighter in me got challenged."
Rijker's manager, Stan Hoffman of New York, has an appointment to meet
with King on March 3. The topic is a possible Rijker-Martin match.
Lucia Rijker......Answers Internet Rumors
Noting that various rumors about her had been circulating on the
internet, I suggested to Lucia Rijker that she could discuss some of them
in her own words. I sent her questions by e-mail and she responded.
KD--A lot of people are depressed about women's boxing and think it may be
sinking back into obscurity.
Lucia--"I think that womens' boxing is more popular than mens' boxing
right now. Some days there are more Women in the gym than Men."
KD--Since your December '99 bout was cancelled, there have been rumors
that you are ill. Some people suggest that you have some chronic,
debilitating blood disease--the hint is that you have HIV or
hepatitis--something like that.
Lucia ---"Do I have WHAT in my blood?
"Last time I checked I was perfectly healthy. Last year in November,
my manager told me that my fight on Mike Tyson's card was canceled (the
4th time in a row ) and then when he did fight they had another girl on
the show who fights for less money. I started to have some problems.
"I got so upset that Mia St John was all over the news, and people
were asking me "do you think you can beat her? She looked pretty tough the
other day", or "Why are you not on TV fighting? or in this show, or in that
"Then Lila Ali started fighting, a nice girl with a big name, who got
paid more than I do for a title fight in her first fight in her life! I
tried to stay cool but my life was pretty shaky after my dad passed away
"I guess it was a little to much for my tummy. I found that out after 6
hours in pain on the floor, thinking 'oh my god, my Dad died of stomach
cancer, maybe it is my turn.' But it turned out to be an ulcer.
"So I canceled my fight in December.( I didn't know who I was
fighting, as usual, but I've read on the Internet that it was Denise
something (Moraetes...kd) who thinks she is strong enough to make me
cancel a fight !!!) Well Denise, you are welcome to fight me any time this year!
"Then why am I not fighting? Well, after Bob Arum decided he enjoys
Chick Boxing more than Women's Boxing, I left him to find a promoter who
believed in me as a fighter. I signed a 4 fight
deal with America Presents.
"I was going to fight on two little cards, and I did. Then I was
supposed to fight on a pay-per-view show on the undercard of a Mike Tyson
fight. I was ready. Then Mike, who had already bitten ears off, had to hit
people in and out the ring after the bell on a Show Time card. So Mike was
thrown out of Las Vegas and moved to Europe where people loved him so much
that the arena was sold out in two hours.
"Basically, I'm looking for a fight.
I wonder if Christy Martin checks the Internet and reads the paper but I
assume she doesn't, she probably only reads her own articles. Because
then she will realise, that, if we build that fight( Lucia vs Christie) it
will be the real deal in women's boxing history. We both have great skill,
different styles, a great name and many years of experience, so why should
we let Tits and Ass and those daughters (all my respect for the hard
training women) of old legends take over the media and the ring.
Hey, Christy, I've wanted to fight you for 3 years now and I will not
retire before I beat you.