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St. John defeats Martin

Ringside report by Steve Cummings
Photos by Mary Ann Owen /

Mia St. John earned a 10-round unanimous decision over Christy Martin on Tuesday night at Table Mountain Casino in Friant, CA, taking the WBC female super welterweight title. St. John (47-11-2, 18 KO's) regularly got off first and, surprisingly, traded blows in the middle of the ring with the power-punching Martin (49-7-3, 31 KO's) in the exciting headliner of the Final Victory card. Roy Englebrecht promoted the five-bout card.

Official scores were 97-93, 96-94 and 96-94, all for St. John. scored it 96-94 for St. John.

After the bout, Christy Martin took to the microphone and announced her retirement while congratulating Mia. St. John followed and said if Christy is retiring, then so is she.

In avenging her 2002 loss to Martin, St. John went out in very satisfying fashion. The first few rounds featured many moments where both fighters cautiously measured each other, looking for an opening. But in the fourth round, St. John landed a big overhand right to the face of Martin which prompted both fighters to throw their arms up and taunt each other.

From that point on, St. John followed her corner's advice to "trust the right hand" as she started and finished many of the exchanges. Martin fought hard, answering every charge from St. John with combinations to the body and head from in close until they clinched and had to be separated.

After trading rounds in the early going, Mia came on down the stretch behind sharper punches that were more accurate. With St. John on the attack and Martin desperately trying to turn things around, the packed house at Table Mountain Casino saw a slugfest, the type of fight that St. John wasn't supposed to be able to win.

The fight ended in odd fashion as the two were going toe-to-toe and St. John, with her back to the ropes, was getting the better of the action as the 10-second warning was heard. With a few seconds left, Martin dropped her hands to her sides and let St. John punch away with both hands, uncontested, until the bell rang.

"In round 10, it broke my heart when she gave up, like she mentally gave up," said St. John after the fight. "It broke my heart because I have so much respect for her."

On the dual retirements St. John said that she had promised her mother before she passed away that she was going to fight one more fight and that would be it. St. John considered offering Martin a third fight but Martin's announcement put an end to Mia's career as well.

"I told Christy I would give her a rubber match, but if she's retired, I'm retired. We started together, we're going out together."

On the undercard, two local fighters scored victories to the delight of their vocal fans. Luis Villagomez (1-1) got up from a first-round knockdown to win a thrilling four-round action fight by split decision over Manuel Ortega (1-5). Yoshi Fuji (3-2, 2 KO's), also of Fresno, earned a unanimous decision in his four-round lightweight bout with Jose Garcia (0-3), who was down in the second. Middleweight David Barragan (2-0-1, 2 KO's) scored a punishing second-round TKO over Beau Hamilton (0-3) and Aaron Acevedo (2-0-1, 2 KO's) stopped Angel Torres (2-11-2, 1 KO) in the third round of their lightweight contest.

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