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 Joe Elsby Martin, Sr

Photo added by Perry Ryan

Joe Elsby Martin, Sr

  • Birth 1 Feb 1916 Colorado, USA
  • Death 14 Sep 1996 Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA
  • Burial Leitchfield, Grayson County, Kentucky, USA
  • Memorial ID 9517454

He was the boxing trainer of two world heavyweight boxing champions, Muhammad Ali and Jimmy Ellis. He also trained eleven National Golden Gloves champions. He was orphaned before he reached a year old and was raised by an aunt in Phoenix, Arizona. He came to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1937 and joined the Louisville Police Department, serving until his retirement in 1974. In 1938 he became a boxing coach at the Columbia Gym in Louisville, where, in 1954, he began coaching world champion Muhammad Ali, who was then known as Cassius Clay. The twelve-year-old boxer approached Martin to report that his bicycle had been stolen and told Martin that he wanted to "whoop" the thief. Martin offered to teach him how to box and guided his career for the next six years. He accompanied the champion to the United States Olympic Games in Rome in 1960, when Ali won a gold medal. In the 1950s Martin helped produce a weekly television show on WAVE-TV called "Tomorrow's Champions," which was broadcast for twelve years. After winning the gold medal, Ali began his professional career but maintained conact with Martin until his death. In 1977, he was inducted into the Amateur Boxing Hall of Fame. Afer retirement, he started a business as an auctioneer and twice ran unsuccessfully for Sheriff of jefferson County. He married Christine Fentress on march 4, 1941, and had one child, Joe Jr. He was buried in Leitchfield, the hometown of his wife, Christine.

Bio by: Perry Ryan


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Perry Ryan
  • Added: 25 Sep 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9517454
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Joe Elsby Martin, Sr (1 Feb 1916–14 Sep 1996), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9517454, citing Leitchfield Memorial Gardens, Leitchfield, Grayson County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .