Belle Martell

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Belle Martell was the first female to be granted a boxing referee's license by the California State Athletic Commission (in 1940). She was also a promoter, ring announcer and timekeeper. At first just only a fight fan, she became more involved when, in 1930, her husband Art Martell built a gym in the garage of their Van Nuys home, where he trained boxers.

"In 1931, the Martells took over former heavyweight boxing champion Jim Jeffries' red dairy barn in Burbank, which Jeffries had converted to a boxing gym. (In 1954 it was moved to Knott's Berry Farm, where it remains [as of 2006] as the Wilderness Dance Hall.)"

In 1934, the Los Angeles Athletic Club hired the Martells to run amateur fights at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Starting circa 1940, Belle and Art operated the 97th Street Arena amateur boxing club of southern Los Angeles. Circa 1942 her pro cards were usually held on Wednesdays at what was commonly known as Belle Martell's Arena (sometimes spelled 'Martel').

Belle Martell died in 1972 (Art died four years later), and is a 2006 California Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee.

Major source of the above: May 21, 2006 Los Angeles Times [1]