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Boxing champion meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

By on Friday, 18 October 2013

Pope Francis meets Argentine boxer Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez during his general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday (CNS)

Pope Francis meets Argentine boxer Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez during his general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday (CNS)

Middleweight world champion Sergio Martínez met Pope Francis at the Vatican earlier this week.

The Argentinian boxer went to the Pope’s weekly General Audience on Wednesday and gave him a replica of the WBC champion belt he won in September last year. It is believed that he spoke with the Pontiff about his It Gets Better anti-bullying campaign.

Prior to the meeting Martinez, 38, said: “In the past couple of months, I will have had two of my dreams as a Catholic come true, to visit the Basilica of our Lady Guadalupe in Mexico and to be received by the Pope. I will be asking the Pope for blessings and spiritual protection to all of those who enter the ring.”

Martinez is currently ranked as the fifth best boxer in the world in The Ring magazine’s pound-for-pound rankings and has won 51 of his 55 professional fighting, drawing twice and losing twice.

As part of his anti-bullying campaigning, in 2012 Martinez mentored a 14-year-old girl called Monique McClain, from Midtown, USA, who had to move schools due to the severe bullying she was suffering. Martinez offered her advice on how to cope with the bullies and dedicated his victory over Sergiy Dzinziruk to her.

  • guestguy

    Very cool! This Martinez seems like a decent fellow.

  • Rhoslyn Thomas

    I wonder what the Pope does with all these presents. It’s a nice gesture and everything, but what is he doing to do with that belt?

  • guestguy

    Maybe he’ll hang it up in his personal quarters and and when asked about it say he used to be a professional boxer and he won it. Why do you care??

  • Mariana

    There is a lot of attention and publicity given to sports stars of all kind. I am very happy that they love the church and the pope.
    Still, sports is regarded and treated as a religión by many in today´s society. Sports stars are treated as VIP wherever they show up.
    I feel that other groups and interests are shown less attention and interest.
    Please; before some of you start accusing me for “hating sports”(which I DON´T DO!) at least try to consider this from a somewhat more objective point of view. After all, sports get more attention in the media than anything else and somehow I can´t help wondering if the church really needs to follow.

  • Philip Sieve

    Yeah. If we guys aren’t going off about crooked clergy and politicians, having disregarded many good ones, as well, who reflect their calling, they talk sports and follow sports (here’s an idea: root, root, root for the home team and get back to reality!) about 90-something percent of the time! What about rational political and religious discourse, which is minus self-righteous judging of those we accuse of self-righteous judging? We are lazy, feel entitled in some way and don’t want our man-made peace to be bothered by having to deal with those who make us have to think or do something by fellow sinners. I fuss about politicians and crooked clergy, as well, so I cannot be self-righteous about them. I’m guilty, too, but in a different way, yet no less unproductive in doing so.

  • Jimbo Stann

    I feel your anger and resentment towards either an individual priest, or priests, or perhaps even the church collectively for failing to protect the safety and/or for not harboring an environment conducive for the vulnerable and innocent.

    If you wish simply to cast stones, your opinion is so noted. For those like me who loves the faith, its priests, tradition, and scripture you are forgiven.

    If on the other hand, you would like to take action on your words and see what you can do to bring victims to the meeting you desire to have please go to the following link: http://archstl.org/sep/page/program-overview