Inducted on November 13, 2003
Marian Muhammad was born in Wilson, NC to the late Helen (nee Neal) and Marvin Wilkins, Sr. She moved to NJ with her parents in the late 1940s. He has two younger brothers, Marvin Wilkins, Jr. and Peter Wilkins. Marian moved back to North Carolina in 1994 and has live between her NJ home and NC since that time. She is the proud mother of eight adult children—5 girls (Dawn, Mahasin, AlNissa, Mikki, and Nicole) and 3 boys (Ali, Omar, and Kato).
Marian attended the Newark Public School system and graduated from South Side High School. After separating from her husband, she went back to college and earned a BS in Socio-Economics and a BBA in Business Administration.
In 1971 Marian began working at the NJ State Division of Consumer Affairs in the office of the Director. In 1965, Marian had dropped out of college and it was at the urging of the director that Marian went back school. She had begun working at Consumer Affairs as a receptionist and in three years she excelled from receptionist to Executive Secretary to the Director to Inspector in the Office of Consumer Protection to licensing and regulation in the NJ State Athletic Commission.
Marian resigned from state employ after six years and began promoting fights under the promotional aegis of Cornerstone Enterprises full time. She had worked with Cornerstone on a part-time basis for about two or three years while still in state employ. After ten years of working in the promotion end of the boxing business, Marian was asked if she would like to become a founding member of a world boxing sanctioning organization. That would mark the beginning of what is today known as the IBF/USBA. The IBF recognized as its champions boxers such as Marvelous Marvin Hagler, middleweight, and Larry Holmes, heavyweight. Shortly after the birth of the IBF with Hagler and Holmes wearing the IBF belt, the world had no choice but to take notice that the IBF was an organization to be reckoned with.
The IBF opened offices at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, NJ in November 1983. Marian managed the office as the IBF Executive Secretary. Her duties were to assist the President, and make decisions regarding the day-to-day activities of the organization in the absence of the President. She is the first African-American to be Executive Secretary to a world sanctioning body. She is also the first woman to ever hold that position.
Marian has worked hard behind the scenes with the IBF since its inception. She has set foot on six continents and innumerable countries, dined with Kings and Queens, Ambassadors, Presidents of Nations and she is modest about it all. She will not single handedly take credit for any one thing the IBF has accomplished, but was certainly in the trenches through it all.
From 1983 to 2001, Marian was Executive Secretary of the IBF. From 1999 to 2001, she was Executive Secretary and Treasurer. Marian is a humble person who prefers to deal with the intricacies of the business from behind the scenes. But, in October 2001, when the most recent past President decided to re-retire, Marian agreed to take the helm and be a more visual, integral part of the future growth of the organization. Today, she is the President of the International Boxing Federation/United States Boxing Association and her day never ends when the clock strikes five. Her home and cellular phones ring all hours of the night and wee hours of the morning.
Marian’s civic and community activities include the American Cancer Society, member; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, member; Abandoned Babies Centers, member; Essex County Educational Services Commission; member; National HIV-AIDS Foundation, member; Peoples Organization for Progress, member; NAACP, Silver Life member; Feed the Children, member; National Campaign for Tolerance, member; National Association of Female Executives, member; and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, member.