Boxing champ and domestic violence survivor Christy Martin endorses Deb Barra

Deborah Barra
Barra prosecuted the man who shot and stabbed Martin.

Boxing champion Christy Martin, who has turned her post-ring career into sports promotion and support for domestic violence survivors, is endorsing Deborah Barra in the highly-contested race for State Attorney in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit.

Martin first met Barra when she was recovering from being stabbed and shot by her husband and boxing manager, Jim Martin in 2010 at the couple’s Apopka home. Barra was part of the prosecution team that successfully convicted Mr. Martin for attempted murder, sending him to prison for 25 years.

“I have personally seen Deborah work. In our meetings prior to the trial she was compassionate and kind but when she got into the courtroom it was a different story. She was fierce. She didn’t let Jim’s witnesses get away with lying. She’s a fighter and I obviously like that,” Martin wrote in a news release Tuesday. “I remember telling her at the end of the trial that it was clear she had eaten her Wheaties.”

Barra, Chief Assistant State Attorney for JC 9 serving Orange ad Osceola counties, is running to succeed her boss State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who is not seeking reelection. The contest was a formidable battle already with Assistant State Attorney Ryan Williams from the neighboring 5th Judicial Circuit, and then turned into a three-way brawl last week when former JC 9 Chief Judge Belvin Perry entered the race.

All three are Democrats. There also is a Republican running. However, Orlando lawyer Kevin Morenski is running a nominal campaign in a circuit where Democrats have a huge advantage in voter registration.

Martin, now 51, won her first women’s world championship as a lightweight in 1993. Her career from then on was so dominant she is sometimes referred to as the greatest women boxer in history. But it was her recovery from the attempted murder that launched her into her current fight to support other domestic violence survivors.

She now owns and operates her own boxing promotion company called “Christy Martin Promotions” and has become a strong voice for domestic violence survivors through a nonprofit organization called, “Christy’s Champs,” a charity that helps domestic violence survivors and their children.

“Christy is not a victim of anything. She’s a survivor. I had the privilege to be a small part of helping her get up after she was knocked down. She took her life back and is doing amazing things for women around the country,” Barra wrote. “Her endorsement of me is extremely meaningful.”

Barra has also been endorsed by former State Attorney Lawson Lamar, former Supreme Court Justice James Perry, Ruth’s List, which supports women candidates, and Victory Fund, which supports openly gay candidates.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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