Sonny Liston vs. Leotis Martin

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Leotis Martin puts Sonny Liston down for the count

Sonny Liston 220 lbs lost to Leotis Martin 199 lbs by KO at 1:08 in round 9 of 12

  • NABF Heavyweight Title (Vacant title)


  • Inaugural NABF title fight.
  • Martin was ranked third by the WBA, and Liston was ranked fifth.
  • Liston was a 13-5 favorite.
  • Since losing to Muhammad Ali in 1965, Liston had won 14 consecutive fights, 13 by knockout.
  • Introduced from the ring prior to this bout were Freddie Little, Ernie Lopez and Doyle Baird.
  • Liston knocked Martin on the seat of his trunks at 2:11 of the fourth round with a left hook to the jaw. He was up quickly and didn't appear badly hurt.
  • Martin, behind on points, knocked out Liston at 1:08 of the ninth round. He hurt Liston with a vicious right and followed up with a left hook and another right. Liston went down flat on his face and was counted out.
  • This was Martin's last fight. He was forced to retire due to a detached retina he suffered in this bout.
  • Unofficial Las Vegas Sun card (through 8 completed rounds). Two writers from the Sun covered this fight. Alan Laythorpe had it 38-34 and Tom Diskin scored it 37-34 both for Liston.
  • Purses: Liston - $25,000, Martin - $10,000

Post fight comments

  • "I want either Frazier or Ellis next." - Leotis Martin
  • "I don't know. Sonny was winning easy until those lucky punches. If he had been beaten all the way I might say he would quit but not this way." -Dick Sadler, Liston's manager, when asked if Liston would retire.
  • "He was out for a long time. He only came to when his seconds gave him a second shot of smelling salts." -Dr. Donald Romeo, on Liston's condition
  • "Maybe Sonny Liston will get a title shot now that we lost today...because we sure couldn't get one while we were winning." -Dick Sadler

Preceded by:
NABF Heavyweight Title Fight
# 1
Succeeded by:
Ali vs. Bonavena