Did you know……Dr. Shiela Harmon Martin

Did you know……Dr. Shiela Harmon Martin

Did You Know..

Sheila Harmon Martin - Women's History Month

UDC Professor: Among the First Women Officials in the World of International Boxing.

Dr. Shiela Harmon-Martin, Chair of UDC’s Division of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Political Science, achieved many “firsts” among women and African Americans as an international boxing judge.   For over 20 years, she judged professional boxers in all weight divisions throughout the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Australia.  During her tenure, she officiated over bouts and held membership in the major international boxing associations — the World Boxing Association, the International Boxing Federation, and the World Boxing Council.  Dr. Harmon-Martin also held licenses and officiated in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Texas, Nevada, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, DC.  She judged over 60 professional bouts, many featuring world champions, such as Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Felix Trinidad, Roy Jones, Jr., Marlin Starling, Simon Brown, Kevin Seabrook, and Mark Johnson.

Among Dr. Harmon-Martin’s firsts in boxing, she is:

  • The first woman and African American to officiate in Adelaide, Australia, judging a light heavyweight match between Dennis Andries & Guy Waters;
  • One of three on the first all-women panel to judge a heavyweight champion fight, between Riddick Bowe & Jesse Ferguson, in Washington, DC.

Her reputation in boxing garnered her a private audience with President Nelson Mandela during his September 1998 visit to the U.S. to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.  President Mandela was a lifelong boxing fan and had been an amateur heavyweight boxer.

Dr. Harmon-Martin served over 30 years as a member of the DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission.  As Chief Judge, she mentored and trained many women as professional boxing judges, many of whom continue to officiate throughout the United States today.