- Holly Holm unknowingly ignored calls from the boxing hall of fame.
- Then she started getting congratulatory messages and she realized she had better call the hall back.
- She fought back tears during her speech at Sunday’s induction ceremony.
CANASTOTA, NY — Holly Holm, one of the greatest fighters of all time, appeared in a state of disbelief as she began speaking about her own induction into the boxing hall of fame.
Very few women have ever been permanently enshrined in the Boxing Museum in upstate New York.
The hall welcomed women boxers for the first time this summer as it celebrated a historic trilogy of classes and caught up on an induction backlog caused by the pandemic.
Speaking to Insider recently, Holm called her own introduction “unreal.”
She grew up around the sport and always thought it was cool that there was a place for the best of the best to be honored in the sport’s Hall of Fame.
But when she competed, she knew “there weren’t any women in there.”
“It’s not something I would let define my career, but … now, to be recognized at this level, it’s not a state hall of fame or female recognition,” she said. “But this is world, male and female, the best fighters in the world.
“I feel humiliated by any recognition,” she said. “And there’s really no way to explain how much honor that is for me.”
Over the weekend, Holm joined fellow female recruits Christy Martin, Ann Wolfe and Laila Ali at the Canastota Museum.
Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins and Wladimir Klitschko were among the numerous men who were also inducted.
“I’m kind of speechless,” Holm said. “I’ve worked hard and I’m proud of it. It’s not that I don’t think I should be there… it’s just that I’m so humbled.”
Holm initially ignored the call from the boxing hall of fame
Holm got the call while recovering from knee surgery at her father’s home in the mountains of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
She initially ignored the calls. But when she checked her voicemails, she realized she had received a call from Ed Brophy, who runs the hall in Canastota.
“I wasn’t paying attention,” she told Insider. “And there were voicemails, ‘Hey, this is Ed in the Hall of Fame, can you call me’?”
Shortly thereafter, her inbox was filled with congratulations.
At this point she realized that she had better call Ed back. “To see what this is about,” she said. “We found out and I was kind of shocked.”
Holm fought back tears during her introductory speech
During a six-hour ceremony Sunday at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY, some of boxing’s most notable names took turns speaking.
Each fighter received a ring to commemorate this moment.
During her acceptance speech at a ceremony attended by Insiders, Holm fought back tears and said she wasn’t born into a boxing family, but by discovering the sport she had found her passion.
She then expressed her gratitude that she was able to find people in the sport who “only wanted what was best for me”.
Referring to her lifelong trainer, Mike Winkeljohn, who helped her navigate the MMA world during a successful post-boxing career, Holm said, “No matter what I did, he believed in it.
“From the beginning there’s a lot of people out here in this sport as we all know, between managers and promoters, coaches, they’re often in it for their own glory.
“I’ll tell you straight away, I was surrounded by people who wanted the best for me. Very selfless love and support I had.”
Holm would return to boxing whenever a fighting opportunity presented itself
Holm has not fought in a boxing ring since beating Mary McGee in 2013.
It brought her professional boxing record to 33 wins (nine KOs and 24 decisions) against three ties and two losses, in a career that saw her trade a win and a loss with French puncher Anne Sophie Mathis.
Since then, she has fought exclusively in mixed martial arts, primarily for the sport’s market-leading promotion.
In just her tenth pro MMA fight, Holm defeated Ronda Rousey in the second round of a dominant bout to win the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title.
Speaking to Insider and other reporters in May, she said she has a few fights left on her UFC contract but would welcome a chance to return to boxing provided it was against world-class women’s champion Katie Taylor.
“I think it’s good in life to dream and think about things that fascinate you,” said Holm, 40.
There were times when Holm thought to herself that she was “over boxing” as nothing sparked her passion quite like what fighting in the UFC has done.
But a fight against Taylor could convince her to return, she said.
“It could be my fourth title in a fourth division against the best in the world,” said Holm. “To be able to show that I can go back and compete at the highest level.
“Do I care? Yes.”