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You May Be Hanging The Gloves Up But Please Don’t Get Back In The Ring

This isn’t a news story or an interview for people to enjoy. This is a heartfelt plea to Tommy Martin not to step back in the ring to compete in a Bare Knuckle Boxing Fight. 

Tommy, we’ve only met a couple of times and from those few times I know how hard you’ve found not being able to compete and challenge yourself in a boxing ring. I know that your life was turned upside down and you itch and yearn to have it back. But Tommy, you suffered a bleed to the brain and were warned that one more blow to the head could be life threatening. At worst it could kill you

You were told that when the doctor believed your opponent would at least be wearing 8oz gloves. Not “bare knuckles”. 

In recent times we have lost people in UK rings because of brain injuries in Mike Towell and Scott Westgarth. Charlie Wynn currently can’t walk because he suffered a bleed to the brain after sparring. We’ve had fighters who have been in your position and had to retire because of neurological issues. 

Tommy you are thankfully in full health – you said on your status update about your decision to compete that you’ve had three brain scans that have come back clear. That’s amazing news, you have your health. Don’t risk it. Keep it. Nick Blackwell believed he’d be ok to spar, look how close he came to losing his life. 

I barely know you, I know that, but I’ve seen how much your decision to compete again is cutting Barry and Danny up. And I’m sure they’re not the only ones from your boxing family who are thinking this. I couldn’t let this pass without trying to put you off your decision. 

I was a fan of yours, I enjoyed watching you fight and I believe you could have achieved so much more than you did in your short career. 

At the heart of my boxing writing I’m a fan who lucked out and got to meet people he respected and admired. I got to meet you Tommy because you were lucky. And you know how happy I was that you was lucky? I got to meet Tommy Martin with all his faculties intact. You was lucky because you were given the chance to live a full, normal life and not have any life changing issues from your injury. 

I know it’s hard and I know you want to compete, and I know you believe those three brain scans mean you can. But ask yourself this: why are you fighting BKB and not back on a BBBofC licensed boxing show? Is it because you know the BBBofC wouldn’t give you a licence to fight even if you had 100 clear brain scans? Or is it because you went to them and they did tell you “no” regardless of the scans?

I know you love the sport and want to be a part of it, but BKB isn’t the sport you love.

You achieved more in your short career than most do in long, full careers. 

Keep those memories for your children and one day their children. Let them hear Daddy/Grandad tell them how he won the English title at the o2 in front of thousands of adoring fans and when your graced that venue again on an Anthony Joshua undercard you won the WBA Continental Title. 

Don’t ruin the rest of your life longing for something you once had. 

Stay safe Tommy. From a loving boxing family to one of its cherished members X


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