Former heavyweight boxing champion Charles Martin shot in Los Angeles

Charles Martin. © Peter Cziborra
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Charles Martin says police “saved his life” after he was shot in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Martin was in downtown LA in the early hours of Tuesday morning when he became involved in an argument with two men.

According to police, the men started shooting, but missed and fled. Martin got in his car and chased the gunmen, but crashed into a utility pole.

Police say the suspects returned and shot at Martin, hitting him in the forearm, before fleeing in a car.

“I looked down and saw a pool of blood. I said to myself, ‘I gotta get outta here. I’m gonna die. I'm gonna bleed to death,’” Martin said, as reported by tmz.com.

“I have to pay respect to the cops: they saved my life.”

The boxer claims he didn't know the suspects and had no idea why they opened fire on him. Officers took Martin to hospital, where he underwent surgery. The suspects still haven't been located.

Martin won the vacant IBF heavyweight title in New York in January by way of TKO when Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov injured his knee after being felled by a punch in the third round.

His reign as champ lasted just three months, when rising British star and Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua deposed the American inside two rounds.

At just 85 days, Martin's reign as heavyweight champion is the second-shortest in professional boxing history, with only Tony Tucker's tenure in 1987 being shorter.

Other notable boxers involved in shooting incidents include Hall of Fame fighter Hector Camacho, was killed in Puerto Rico in 2012, while cruiserweight champion O’Neil Bell was killed in a gun robbery in Atlanta, Georgia, in November 2015.

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