- Holly Holm unwittingly ignored calls from boxing’s Hall of Fame.
- Then she started getting messages of congratulations and realized she better call the Hall back.
- She fought to hold back the tears during her speech at the induction ceremony Sunday.
CANASTOTA, N.Y. — Holly Holm, one of the greatest female fighters of all time, appeared in a state of disbelief when she started talking about her own induction into boxing‘s Hall of Fame.
Very few women have ever been enshrined permanently in the boxing museum located in upstate New York.
The Hall only inducted female boxers for the first time this summer when it celebrated a historic trilogy of classes, catching up on a pandemic-induced backlog of inductions.
Speaking to Insider recently, Holm called her own induction “unreal.”
Growing up in the sport, she said she always thought it was cool that there was a place for the best of the best to be honored at the sport’s Hall of Fame.
But, when she was competing, she knew there “were no females in there.”
“It’s not something I would let define my career but … now, to be recognized at that level, it’s not a state Hall of Fame, or female recognition,” she said. “But this is worldwide, male and female, best fighters in the world.
“I’m humbled by any recognition,” she said. “And there’s really no way to explain how much of an honor that is for me.”
Over the weekend, Holm joined other female inductees Christy Martin, Ann Wolfe, and Laila Ali in the Canastota museum.
“I’m kind of speechless,” Holm said. “I worked hard, and I’m proud of it. It’s not that I don’t think I should be there … it’s just I’m so humbled by it.”
Holm initially ignored the phone call from boxing’s Hall of Fame
Holm got the call when she was recovering from knee surgery at her father’s house, by the Albuquerque mountains in New Mexico.
She ignored the calls, at first. But when she checked her voicemails, she noticed she’d had 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 at the Hall of Fame, can you give me a call’?”
Shortly after, her inbox started filling up with messages of congratulations.
It was at this point when she realized she’d better call Ed back. “To see what this was all about,” she said. “We found out, and I was kind of in shock.”
Holm fought back tears during her induction speech
During a six-hour ceremony Sunday at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y., some of the best-known fighters from boxing took turns giving speeches.
Each fighter was awarded a ring to commemorate the moment.
Fighting back tears during her acceptance speech during a ceremony Insider attended, Holm said that she wasn’t born into a boxing family, but when she found the sport, she had found her passion.
She then expressed gratitude that she managed to find people in the sport who “only wanted the best for me.”
Referring to her lifelong coach Mike Winkeljohn, who has helped her navigate the MMA world in a successful post-boxing career, Holm said: “No matter what I did, he believed.
“From the get-go, there’s a lot of people out here in this sport as we all know, between managers and promoters, coaches, they’re in it for their own glory a lot of times.
“I’ll tell you right now, I’ve been surrounded by people who have wanted the best for me. Very selfless love and support I’ve had.”
Holm would return to boxing if one fight opportunity presented itself
Holm hasn’t fought in a boxing ring since a 2013 victory over Mary McGee.
It brought her pro boxing record to 33 wins (nine knockouts and 24 decisions) against three draws and two defeats, in a career that saw her exchange a win and a loss with French puncher Anne Sophie Mathis.
Since then, she has fought exclusively in mixed martial arts, mostly for the sport’s market-leading promotion.
In just her 10th pro MMA fight, Holm famously knocked Ronda Rousey out 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 that she has a few fights left on her UFC contract but would welcome a chance to return to boxing, providing it was against top-tier women’s champion Katie Taylor.
“I think it’s good in life to dream, and you think about things that intrigue 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 weight class against the best in the world,” Holm said. “To be able to show that I can go back and compete at the highest level.
“Does that intrigue me? Yes.”