Inducted on October 26, 1980
Tommy began his pro career in 1929 after having won the Welterweight Championship of the Alabama National Guard. He won his first 17 pro fights, beating the cream of the preliminary boys in the South. After boxing in Alabama and Tennessee for 3 years, he turned his attention to New Orleans, which was then considered the boxing center of the South.
He floored Battling Shaw in a gym workout in the Crescent City and from then on bouts were few and far between.
From New Orleans, he gravitated to San Antonio and Los Angeles. Among his opponents were Battling Shaw, the Junior Welterweight Champion, Homer Foster, Joe Barrone and others. He fought Pete Boscarino on the Canzoneri-Shaw Card in 1933. He was in New York in 1933 when he worked out with Can. zoneri at ·Stillman’s Gym. He became a favorite at the Ridgewood beating such boys as Matty Valenti, Danny Bates, Joe Darazio, losing only to Tony Milano in a bout in which he gave away some 10 pounds.
A bad cut in a 10-rounder with August Camarata in New Orleans hastened his retirement. His career spanned some 102 fights.
While in New York he worked part-time in a liquor store, where “I found out that when I punched the cash register, it didn’t punch back.” After that startling discovery, he gave up boxing for the liquor business and bought the Park Avenue Liquors in West New York, N.J., which he operated from 1937 until 1970. At that same time he was employed in the Marine Department of the New York Central, where he worked for 38 years, retiring in May, 1974.
Tommy is married to the former Marie Newman. They have 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren. In 1970 they moved to Colonia.
INDUCTEE-TOMMY MARTIN -HALL OF FAME
Editorial, May 31, 1931-Memphis Press – Scimitar
He was a clean cut, red-haired boy from Birmingham named TOMMY MARTIN. He was in the ring at the auditorium Wednesday evening against a Memphis boy.
Naturally, the crowd was with the local boy until the Memphis lad caught the visitor off his guard socked him hard, followed it up viciously al1 but put the Birmingham boy out. Three times in one minute the red hair brushed the floor of the ring. The Birmingham boy was whipped and whipped good. Everybody in the audience knew it except one person. But that one who did not know counted for more than a the rest, for he was the Birmingham boy himself. I was his fight and his heart counted for more than were opinions in the audience.
He staggered to his feet but he staggered toward his opponent. He fought blindly at first, but he was fighting. With no attempt to cover up, no thought of running away-he waded right in. As befuddled as he was, his brain confused, then cleared. Tommy’s blows began finding its mark. He floored the Memphis lad twice in the same round in which he had been floored thrice. A fighting heart had turned the tide of battle in the final round. The visitor carried the fight to his opponent so courageously and so effectively that he was given a draw. Although at one stage of the battle he had been whipped to a frazzle-only he did not know it.
The idea of being whipped had never percolated thru that red hair of his. His boxing record enviable Wins 36 – Losses 7 – Scored three knockouts.