Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Family: Slain ex-boxer Tony Martin died 'senselessly'

Story Highlights
  • Retired professional boxer Tony Martin was shot to death in Hunting Park Friday.
  • He was collecting rent from tenants when he was shot.
  • Police described the motive for the killing as an argument but no arrests have been made.

Retired professional boxer Tony Martin was shot to death in Hunting Park Friday, police say, and his family is struggling to understand what happened.

Martin, 52, was fatally shot on the 1300 block of West Butler Street Friday afternoon, Philadelphia police confirmed this morning.

The welterweight had a 34-6-1 boxing record that included 12 knockouts and U.S. Boxing Association and North American Boxing Federation titles.

On Friday, he was collecting rent from tenants when he was shot, said his niece, Robyn Peete.

"His life was cut short so senselessly," she said.

Peete said her uncle was a "no-nonsense person" and didn't tolerate problem tenants. He wasn't having issues with any of his renters, she said.

"That's what's heartbreaking," she said. "It's so unexpected."

Police described the motive for the killing as an argument. Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman, said she had no details on what the disagreement involved.

No arrests have been made.

The St. Louis native and long-time U.S. Postal Service worker moved to Philadelphia in 1985, Peete said.

"Philadelphia was a great place for boxing back then," she said. "He always said, 'If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.'"

Martin's last fight was a hard-fought loss to Julio Cesar Chavez in Las Vegas in 1997.

News of Martin's death was spreading through the boxing community this morning, with numerous messages circulating on social media.

International Boxing Hall of Fame voting member Aris Pina wrote on Twitter that Martin was a "Philadelphia warrior who was a staple on Tuesday Night Fights" in the early- and mid-1990s.

Martin is survived by his wife, four children and seven grandchildren.

Peete remembered her uncle as an ambitious but kind-hearted man.

"Anybody who was ever in need, in any kind of situation, he was the person who would help," she said.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

Philly.com staff
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