Retired boxer shot, killed in Hunting Park

March 11, 2013 8:20:24 PM PDT
A retired professional boxer who was killed over the weekend was remembered at Philadelphia's oldest boxing club as the fighter who left his mark on the boxing world.

The victim, 52-year-old Tony Martin, was a former welterweight boxer.

Today at Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Northern Liberties, news of his shooting death quickly spread.

Boxer Stanley "Pee-Wee" Dawson said, "He had a hook that he would set up and I use it today....a wide hook."

Martin was known as the guy you had to beat to get ahead in the Philly boxing world.

In Martin's last fight before retiring from the sport, he took on Julio Cesar Chavez in Las Vegas in the late 90s.

"I'm going to miss his kind heart and how strong he was," Tony's daughter Alexis said.

Martin's wife of more than 20 years, Donna, is still too upset to talk about her husband whose killing has sent shock waves through the world of professional boxing

"He's never been in trouble. Never been a guy you could say well we seen it coming. Not Tony Martin and he was a fighter," boxing champ Bernard Hopkins said.

Action News spoke to Martin's niece last night. "My uncle had three weeks to prepare for that fight and he fought like a champ, he lived the way that he fought, he always had a smile on his face, you never caught him having a bad day," said Robyn Peete.

Fighting is what brought Martin to Philadelphia from St. Louis and now his family is making a plea to the killer as police work to track him down.

Philadelphia police have released few details about the murder but Martin's family says he owned a property on the 1300 block of West Butler Street.

He went to collect the rent from the tenant when he was shot in the head inside the house.

"This person took the life of someone that was so great. He has no idea how devastated we are and what he did to this family over nothing," said Peete.

Investigators say the killer is on the run but they haven't said if they know who they're looking for.

Martin's family says he was the type of landlord who gave a lot of breaks to his renters.

He was also a man with a sense of humor who worked hard to provide for his family.

Throughout his boxing career as a welterweight he had 34 wins, six losses and one draw. This was all while he kept his job with the U.S. Postal Service and was still working as a clerk in Southwest Philadelphia.

"When I think about his career, I think about his life, I think about him as a person. I think about how kind he was, how hardworking he was, how driven he was," said Peete.

Peete says she just wants the person responsible to be brought to justice.

"Anybody that knows Tony will never forget Tony, there will never be another Tony Martin ever," Peete said.

Martin's family are pleading for the gunmen to come forward.

"If anyone has information about anything. They should definitely come forward how big or small it is," Alexis said.