5'6" Mia Rosales St. John from Los Angeles, California has parlayed her looks and a long list of wins over lightly-rated opponents in four-round fights into a successful combination of media coverage and lucrative payouts. She is a Cal State Northridge graduate in psychology, and has two children, Julian and Paris.
Mia, who comes from a family of martial arts practitioners, was born on June 24, 1967 in San Francisco. She took up Tae Kwon Do when she was six years old. Inspired by the original "Rocky" movie at age 12, and reportedly by a mini-rumble with a fellow high school student at a football game, she began competitive amateur Tae Kwon Do at age 18.
She entered pro boxing in 1997 with no prior amateur experience. Her early fights featured an aggressive but head-down, windmilling style that included enough solid shots to overwhelm novice opponents but which made veteran boxing fans wince. Her looks and personality out of the ring gathered media and fan attention. A promotional contract with Bob Arum got her a series of pay-per-view TV appearances on major fight undercards (she reportedly earned about $20,000 per fight, over twenty times the usual scale for female boxers fighting four-rounders against unranked opponents). Arum, who had emphatically expressed his personal dislike for women's boxing, saw that an attractive female fighting four-rounders could spice up his fight promotions and weigh-ins while consuming minimal TV time (and minimal purses for her opponents).
Mia St. John's early combination of media appeal, (un)coverage in a November 1999 Playboy pictorial, with limited boxing skills made her a controversial figure in women's boxing. While she's been one of best-known and financially successful fighters after Christy Martin, she's frequently been accused of padding her record with soft fights and trading in on a fundamentally sexist view of female boxing. Her opponents' records are included in some detail in the reports below, so you can draw your own conclusions about her record.
On February 14, 1997 at Fantasy Springs Casino near Indio, California Mia won her pro debut over debut fighter Angelica Villian by knockout at 0:54 in the first round. St. John caught Villian with a stiff jab then scored with rights until a powerful right dropped Villian for ten. Villian fell to 0-2 with this loss. (Villian was subsequently TKO'd in the first round by Jayla Ortiz in Santa Fe on January 24, 1998 and in 24 seconds by the skilful Sonya Emery in Austin, Texas on May 1. 1998. She hasn't fought since.)
On April 19, 1997 at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, Mia weighed in at 123 lbs and won by a first round TKO over debut fighter Dawn Graham (116½ lbs), who hasn't fought again.
On June 21, 1997 in Tampa, Florida, she won by third-round TKO over Contina Frederinck, who was making her debut and hasn't fought since.
On August 5, 1997 in Nashville, Tennessee, she won by a first-round TKO over Dawn Wimer of Ashtabula, Ohio. Wimer was TKO'd in the second round by Olivia Escobar in Escobar's pro debut on February 25, 1999 and compiled an 0-7-1 record before quitting boxing. (The Ashtabula gym was notorious for providing overmatched "opponents" who gave up early in their fights to avoid getting hurt.)
On November 28, 1997 at the Marriott in Irvine, California, Mia won a 4-round unanimous decision over Dolores Lira of Boise, Idaho. Lira fell to 0-3 (and later lost to Brenda Burnside, and stopped boxing.)
On May 30, 1998 at Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, she won by a second-round KO over Kris Sepulvado of Shreveport, Louisiana. (Sepulvado's record is hard to keep track of as she has made a habit of fighting under different names, including "Kris Vado", "Pamela Sepulvado" and possibly "Christi Carter") but I believe she fell to 0-3 with this loss to St. John and went on to a 1-12-2 record.)
On August 15, 1998 in Los Angeles, California Mia came in at 125½ lbs and won a four-round unanimous decision over Brenda Felter (123 lbs) of New Mexico, who fell to 0-2. Felter had been TKO'd in the third round by Leilana Salazar in Phoenix, Arizona on May 5, 1998 and went on to a 1-6-0 record.
On September 18, 1998 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Mia advanced to 8-0 with 5 KO's with a four-round split decision in a rematch with Brenda Felter, who was a late substitute for Amanda Skelton of Fort Smith, Arkansas on the card. Felter fell to 0-3.
On December 12, 1998 at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, Mia weighed in at 126 lbs and won by second-round knockout over Brandy Mae Vaughan (123 lbs) of Muskogee, Oklahoma who fell to 0-4. Vaughn had lost three in a row to Amanda Skelton and hasn't fought since.
On February 13, 1999 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, she weighed in at 127 lbs and won an easy four-round unanimous (40-36) decision over Amanda Skelton (124 lbs) of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Skelton, who was Mia's first opponent with a winning record, had defeated Brandy Mae Vaughan three times in 1998 and TKO'd a debut fighter (who hasn't fought since) in her other bout for a 4-0 (1 KO) record before facing St. John. She has not fought since.
On May 8, 1999 at the Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mia won by TKO in a rematch with Kris Sepulvado of Shreveport, Louisiana at 1:30 of the first round. Sepulvado fell to 0-4 with this loss. Sepulvado subsequently lost to then-winless Randi Saenz by first-round TKO on July 24, 1999, to Jenifer Alcorn by first-round TKO on September 4, 1999 and to Melinda Robinson by first-round KO on November 12, 1999. She never won a fight against anyone with a winning record.
On June 26, 1999 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mia weighed in at 132 lbs and won a four-round unanimous decision over Mary Ann Haik (133 lbs) of Pearl River, Louisiana. The 27-year-old Haik fell to 5-6 with the loss. Haik's five wins included two over Kris Sepulvado, a TKO of Atlanta's Tawayna Broxton and a first-round TKO over debut fighter Sarah Inman. She went on to a 7-9-0 (3 KO) record and retired in 2001.
On September 18, 1999 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mia weighed in at 125 lbs and moved her record to 13-0 (8 KO's) with a TKO at 1:40 of the fourth round over Kelley Downey (126 lbs) of Merriam, Kansas. St. John was clearly winning this bout when it was stopped but the immediate reason for the stoppage was unclear. Downey's record fell to 3-2 (3 KO's), including first-round TKO wins over Lori Domagala and Sherri Thompson and a loss by four-round split decision to Theresa Frye.
On December 11, 1999, Mia won by TKO at 1:40 in the first round over Sharon Sirls of Lubbock, Texas at Dixie Junior College in St. George, Utah at the end of what Marcel Niessen describes as "one of the weirdest, if not the weirdest, night in boxing I ever had". The card featured mixed-style matches between US boxers and Chinese kickboxers, and confusion about who was fighting who and in what style! Sirls, who had had just one pro fight (which she lost) had been flown in from Texas at short notice after confusion had reigned about whether St. John was to fight in a mixed-style match, as the Chinese promoters reportedly hoped, or a boxing match as the Utah commission apparently believed when it sanctioned the bout. Sirls had dropped a four-round decision to Linda Robinson, another debut fighter, three weeks earlier in Houston.
On January 22, 2000 at the Fairgrounds in Delmar, California, 700 live fans and a Univision TV audience saw Mia win a four-round unanimous (40-36) decision over Kelly Whaley (127 lbs) of Cedar City, Utah, who fell to 1-1. "It was a tough fight for me," St.John told a local reporter. "She had a good chin. I was hoping she would knock herself out, but it gave me a good workout anyway." Whaley's other pro fight was a four-round decision over then 6-0 Crisi Yaeger of Texas, on November 18 1999 in Houston. (Yaeger is another fighter who racked up a winning record against soft opposition, including the always-overmatched Kris Sepulvado, novice fighter Victoria Lara, and winless Martha Flores.) Whaley had posted a 3-3 record as an amateur boxer and had competed in the 1999 National Women's Golden Gloves tournament. See also the comments on this fight from Women's Boxing Page visitors and a local reporter. She was still competing professionally in February 2004, with a 4-12-0 (1 KO) record.
On February 26, 2000 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, St. John weighed in at 127 lbs and won a hard-fought four-round majority (39-39, 39-37, 39-37) decision over Kristin Allan (124½ lbs) of Jefferson City, Missouri who dropped to 3-1. The two went toe-to-toe in a slugfest that was decided by St. John's strong finish, which included two rights that shook Allan. Allan didn't back down from the more experienced St. John, but lacked defensive skills. "She was a real tough country girl," St. John said. "I outskilled her. She took everything I gave her, but I felt the last round clinched it for me." Allan had previously posted wins over debut fighters Kim Raulerson, Fran Morrow by first-round TKO and Franchesca Alcanter by a third-round TKO; the eight minutes in Madison Square Garden more than doubled Allan's previous pro ring time while moving St. John to 16-0.
On May 19, 2000 at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California, St. John (130 lbs) looked the equal of relative novice Franchesca Alcanter (125 lbs) of Kansas City as she won a unanimous 40-36 decision that underestimated Alcanter's showing. Alcanter fell to 2-3. Alcanter had knocked out Crystal O'Dell of St. Louis at 1:02 of the first round in both fighters' pro debut (O'Dell has not continued in to box so far as we know), then was TKO'd at 0:37 of the first by Texan Linda Tenberg (127¾ lbs). Alcanter had failed to answer the bell for the third round against Kristin Allan in October 1999 but scored a third-round TKO over Theresa Gaulden in March 2000. The St.John-Alcanter bout was seen live on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights but neither boxer showed boxing skills to justify a prime TV slot. Earlier the same day, the IBA announced that it would no longer recognize the "Queen of the Four-Rounders" title that it had awarded to St.John.
This IBA "Women's Four-Round Featherweight title" was one of the bevy of minor awards that promoters like to use to embellish their cards. The appellation, and the matching one that the IBA had awarded to male boxing sideshow "Butterbean", was officially withdrawn from St. John with statement that "from the very beginning the IBA always made it clear that the belts "The Bean" and Mia have were novelties used by the IBA to promote our organization. No one ever said the Bean and Mia were "world champions!" Unfortunately, that wasn't quite right, as Playboy hadn't drawn any such distinction when it identified St. John on its cover as "the" IBA featherweight titlist. The IBA later tried to improve its standing as a sanctioning body for women's boxing by promoting more serious women's title fights.
On June 17, 2000 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, she won a unanimous decision over Linda Robinson of Woodway, Texas. St.John was the aggressor throughout this fight, scored 40-36, 40-36, 39-37 by the judges. Robinson, fighting outside Houston, Texas for the first time, fell to 3-1; her three wins had come against Sharon Sirls of Lubbock, Texas, Victoria Lara (0-3) of Texarkana, Texas and Denette Montgomery (0-6) of Ashtabula, Ohio.
St. John was unable to compete for some months as a result of a jet-ski accident which required two operations to remove a potentially gangrenous blood clot from her left leg. She had to wear a protective cast on her leg, which required a skin graft from her thigh after a mass 2½ inches deep and 4 inches wide that had been affected by the blood clot was removed.
On December 3, 2000 at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, she returned to the ring at 126 lbs after recovering from the jet-ski injury and TKO'd Amy Yerkes (5'4", 125 lbs) of Springfield, Missouri at 1:33 of the fourth round. Yerkes lacked the boxing skills to compensate for St. John's height and reach advantage. Yerkes dropped to 1-3; she had previously lost to Brenda Rouse and Sherri Thompson by six-round decisions (and had fought just two days previously in Iowa).
On January 20, 2001 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada she moved to 20-0 (12 KO's) with a third-round TKO over Sherri Thompson, who fell to 3-3. Thompson, also from Missouri, had previously lost a decision to Rolanda Andrews but had defeated Amy Yerkes in a six-rounder a year earlier.
On March 25, 2001 at an outdoor event at the Park'N'Swap in Phoenix, Arizona under a scorching sun, a crowd of 5000 saw St. John (129 lbs) advance to 21-0 (13 KO's) with a TKO of Amy Yerkes of Springfield, Missouri at 1:49 in the third round of an action-packed fight. Yerkes, who fell to 1-6 as a pro boxer, was a last-moment substitute for Mexico's Imelda Arias, who failed to show up for the weigh-in the day before. St. John earned $10,000, Yerkes $2,000, for this match according to Arizona Republic reporter Norm Frauenheim.
On May 13, 2001 at the State Line Silver Smith Casino, West Wendover, Utah, Mia weighed in at 129½ lbs and won a hard fought four-round unanimous (40-37,39-37,39-37) decision over Linda Tenberg (125½ lbs) of Austin, Texas. According to WBAN reporter JD from ringside: "Mia clearly won the fight based on pure aggression and punches thrown effectively. She does 'windmill' on occasion, but not as badly as I've seen her in the past. Tenberg seemed unprepared to deal with the level of intensity that Mia brought to the fight. Although, Tenberg did score some good shots and looks technically better schooled most of the time ... but at least Mia commits to her punches. And her conditioning is good as she was non-stop and simply overwhelmed Tenberg with a whirlwind attack. I couldn't give Tenberg a single round". Tenberg fell to 5-4 (1 KO). Tenberg was a legitimate featherweight contender whose previous losses had included going the distance with tough competition in Ada Velez and Layla McCarter. (See the illustrated fight report by Sue TL Fox).
On July 28, 2001 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, she weighed in at 128½ lbs and was held to a controversial majority draw by Imelda Arias (139½ lbs) of Ciudad Juárez, México. According to Andy Rivera's report for Inside Women's Boxing: "Mia won the first round, jabbing and moving out of target from the smaller, heavier Arias. But Imelda came back in the 2nd through 4th rounds, dominating those rounds by landing heavy rights and left that kept Mia confused. When the decision was announced ... 38-38, 38-38 and one score that was withheld ... the crowd booed heavily." Arias's record was 8-11-1; three of Arias's wins had come against 0-5 Deanna Wyman, and she had lost her previous seven fights, including a first-round TKO by California's Jenifer Alcorn.
Mia St. John's place in women's boxing continued to be defined by her choice of opponents and her exclusive focus on four-round fights. There is no shortage of serious competitors at her weight, yet she continued to fight four-rounders against almost-novices. One reason advanced for her four-round restriction used to be that promoter Bob Arum didn't want a women's bout to take up more time on his cards, but this excuse wore thin with most true fans of competitive women's boxing. A different story began when Mia finally left the Arum contract that had served her up mostly poorly prepared opponents for lop-sided contests.
On November 9, 2001 at Sunset Station in San Antonio, Texas, Atlanta southpaw Rolanda Andrews (5'3", 126 lbs) TKO'd Mia St.John (131 lbs) at 1:47 in the second round of their bout on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. Andrews moved to 4-5 (2 KO's) with the win. St. John looked busier in the first round but Andrews blocked most of her punches while scoring with her left. Andrews dropped St. John with a right in the second round and St. John got up hurt. Andrews then worked St. John over against the ropes until the referee stopped the bout. This was to have been St. John's first scheduled six-round bout, and her first outside Arum's contract. St. John had described it as preparation for moving up in weight to face Christy Martin but she may have seriously underestimated Andrews, who had given Sandra Yard a good scrap for the IFBA Featherweight title in July, 2000 and had previously gone the distance with such top performers as Lena Åkesson, Melissa Salamone and Dee Dufoe. [analysis by WBP writer Kevin Cockle]
After this loss, which dropped her record to 22-1-1, Mia began training with Robert Garcia, Fernando Vargas' trainer in Oxnard.
On January 18, 2002 at the Entertainment and Sports Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, she won a four-round unanimous (40-35 on all three cards) decision over Gina Greenwald of St. Louis, Missouri in a bout seen on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. St. John had weighed in a bikini-clad 145 lbs to Greenwald's fully clothed 129½ lbs) the day before the fight. A second-round "throwdown" by St. John gave her a 10-8 round in a bout in which St. John's style again seemed to have progressed little, despite her goal of taking on Christy Martin. ESPN2's commentators questioned why the fight was selected for live TV coverage. The North Carolina boxing commission had reservations about sanctioning the bout because of the weight difference, but appears to have let Greenwald's team decide whether to go ahead with it. Greenwald fell to 2-6 (1 KO) with the loss.
On April 7, 2002 at Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California, she weighed in at 133 lbs and advanced to 24-1-1 (12 KO's with a four-round unanimous (40-36) decision over Janae Romero (132 lbs) of Denver, Colorado, who fell to 2-2-1 (1 KO). Romero tried to pressure St. John but Mia was able to control this fight from the outside and shook off the shots that Romero did manage to land on her.
On May 18, 2002 at the Silver Star Casino in Choctaw, Mississippi, a near-capacity crowd was unhappy with a majority (39-37,39-37,38-38) decision for St. John (136 lbs) over Kristina (Kristy) Follmar (5'8", 133 lbs) of Cedar Lake, Indiana. Former Indiana Golden Gloves champion Folmar came out aggressively and appeared to control the bout despite swinging her punches too much. Follmar moved well and kept a clearly rattled St. John backing up with right-left combinations to her face, and the decision was loudly booed. St. John tried to tie Follmar up in the fourth and Follmar wasn't able to press her attack steadily but she was taking the fight to St. John just before the bell. St. John progressed to 25-1-1 (12 KO) while Follmar fell to 2-1 (2 KO). St. John grinned knowingly when she heard the decision. She was also greeted by a steady chant of "Kristy! Kristy! Kristy!" from the fans while she was being interviewed for FOX Sports, whose own commentators had scored the bout 39-37 for Follmar. It was hard to see how any impartial judge could have scored this bout in St. John's favor. (Also see Sue TL Fox's commentary on this result)
On August 10, 2002 at Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California, St. John (back down to 127 lbs from her peak of 145) advanced to 26-1-1 (13 KO) when she stopped Elisha Olivas (122 lbs) of Denver, Colorado in the third round of a scheduled four-rounder. Olivas, who hadn't fought in three years, fell to 0-3-1 (0 KO).
The world of competitive women's boxing continued to wait for Mia St. John also to step up to a higher level that befitted her publicity and her 26-1-1 paper record. This finally happened when she signed to fight Christy Martin at welterweight.
On December 6, 2002 at Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, #1 ranked welterweight Christy Martin (5'4", 144 lbs) of Orlando, Florida won a ten-round unanimous (97-93,97-93,99-91) decision over Mia (5'7" and bulked up to 140½ lbs for this fight). Mia withstood a constant stream of body shots from Martin, who was the icon of women's boxing in the 1990's, to go the full ten-round distance. St. John spent the early part of the fight in retreat, but made it more competitive as the bout progressed. At the end of the fourth round, they traded fast-paced combinations and St. John appeared gain confidence that she could stand up to Martin's power. St. John landed her own best shot ... a hard right .. midway through the bout in the fifth round, but Martin laughed it off. St. John endured the barrage from Martin better than expected, and fought back effectively at times, but Martin's constant aggression and superior punching power made the decision an easy one for the judges. Martin improved her record to 45-2-2 (31 KO) with the win.
Although it's hard to win a fight by running, and St. John was never any threat to Martin, the bout added respectability to Mia St. John's boxing career, as she exceeded the low expectations created by her history of short bouts with mostly inexperienced opponents. She used defensive movement to give Christy Martin angles that made it hard for Martin to use the power that had been the key to her earlier victories. "She worked hard every day," said Mia's trainer Robert Garcia, a former world champion who also trains Fernando Vargas. "Everything I told her to do, she did."
St. John had mused about retirement before the fight, saying: “I can’t wait until I retire but I want to make sure I have done everything I can in boxing before I leave. After boxing, I have an offer to host a TV sports show and my endorsements will keep me busy". But the positive press that she gained simply by staying on her feet against Martin for ten rounds encouraged Mia to hang in for some more fights that would include other serious contenders.
On March 15, 2003 at Club Life in Dallas, Texas, Mia (137 lbs) returned to the ring and won an easy six-round unanimous (59-55,60-54,60-54) decision over Jessica Mohs (133 lbs) of Phoenix, Arizona. Mohs, who had previously fought as a featherweight, slipped to 5-7-0 (1 KO) with the loss. [St. John post-fight interview]
On April 19, 2003 at Selland Arena, Fresno, California, she weighed in at 135½ lbs and lost an eight-round unanimous (78-74,77-75,77-75) decision to WIBF/IWBF lightweight champion Jenifer Alcorn (135 lbs) of Fresno. After a feeling-out round, the fight turned into a slugfest with Alcorn scoring repeatedly to St. John's face to the cheers of her home crowd. St. John hung tough and did not run from Alcorn but she reverted to the windmill style of her early fights. This left her open for punishment by the hard-hitting Alcorn, who St. John later described as the strongest fighter she'd ever faced. "She was throwing wild," Alcorn said. "I was finding the openings and sticking. I liked that she didn't run." Alcorn added that "If you fight out of emotion and anger you get in trouble," an apparent reference to the bad blood that had existed between the two in the pre-fight period, with St.John saying that she would steal Alcorn's regional fan base with a win and a war of words over who was more "Mexican". Mia told WBAN after the fight; "Out of my 31 fights this was probably my favorite fight aside from Christy. Fighting Jenifer was such a challenge and truly a wonderful experience. The crowd was on their feet the whole time and found it as exciting as I did. The fight was an overall success! I went into Fresno, sparked a little controversy, we sold a lot of tickets and fought our hearts out. My job is complete. I couldn't be happier." Alcorn advanced to 16-0-0 (10 KO) with the win. (Photo Gallery #51 on the WBAN Records Member Site has photos and some MPEG video clips from this fight, and Photo Gallery #52 has weigh-in photos).
On July 11, 2003 at Silver Legacy Casino, Reno, Nevada, she advanced to 28-3-1 (13 KO) by going back to a four-rounder and winning a unanimous 40-36 decision over Jessica Mohs of Phoenix, Arizona who fell to 5-10-0 (1 KO).
On September 18, 2003 at Four Bears Casino, Newtown, North Dakota, she fought unranked Olivia Gerula of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to a six-round majority draw. Gerula, fighting for the first time in just over a year, moved her record to 5-6-2 (1 KO).
On October 10, 2003 at Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona, an estimated crowd of 1200 saw Mia win a unanimous (40-36,40-36,39-37) four round decision over Jessica Mohs of Phoenix, Arizona. This was the third time that St. John has fought and defeated Mohs. Mohs fell to 5-11-0 (1 KO). (See Photo Gallery #106 on the WBAN Records Member Site.)
On January 24, 2004 at Bank of America Center, Boise, Idaho, in a rematch of their May 19 2000 bout at the Playboy Mansion, St. John (137½ lbs) won another four-round unanimous (40-36,40-36,40-36) decision over Franchesca Alcanter (139 lbs) of Kansas City, who fell to 10-5-1 (5 KO). (For more fight photos, see Photo Gallery #139 on the WBAN Member Site).
St. John told local press that she was nervous to be fighting in Boise for the first time, but was pleasantly surprised by the urging-on that she got from the fans. “I was surprised to see so many Latinos in the audience,” St. John said. "It helped that the crowd was cheering me on, they pumped me up and got me going.” She also stated that she is looking for a rematch with Christy Martin.
On February 7, 2004 at Grand Casino Coushatta Pavilion in Kinder, Louisiana, Mia (136 lbs) easily moved her record to 31-3-2 (13 KO) with a four-round unanimous 40-36 decision over Ragan Pudwill (138 lbs) of Mandan, North Dakota. St. John thoroughly outclassed Pudwill and rocked her repeatedly with combinations to the head, prompting the referee to ask Pudwill if she wanted to continue midway through the third round. Pudwill showed heart by continuing and staying on her feet, but this was a mismatch by any standard. Pudwill fell to 3-9-0. (For more fight photos, see Photo Gallery #141 on the WBAN Records Member Site).
On April 15, 2004 at the Palace Indian Gaming Center in Lemoore, California, IBA Lightweight champion Jessica Rakoczy (132½ lbs) won an eight-round unanimous decision over Mia (138½ lbs) in a non-title fight that was the co-main event on the card. Rakoczy dominated the bout with her speed and power, occasionally pinning St. John against the ropes with a barrage of overhand rights. For her part, St. John tried to stay out of trouble and look for opportunities to counter the hard-charging Canadian. Rakoczy improved to 14-1-0 (4 KO) with the win while dropping the outgunned St. John to 31-4-2 (13 KO). (For more fight photos, see Photo Gallery #162 on the WBAN Records Member Site).
“She is fast, she is strong, but I bobbed and weaved and dodged,” said St. John about her loss. "I had to have really good defense because I knew she was a strong fighter. She really is the fastest fighter I ever fought ... I’d say she is the best fighter I ever fought.” St. John also said she had told her own trainer Robert Garcia about Rakoczy’s skills but that he had shrugged them off, only to be impressed once the fight started! “Robert told me she fights like a dude,” said St. John, who then tried not to let Rakoczy get set for her power punches. “I heard lots of people say I would get knocked out in the first round,” said St. John, whose improvement has reportedly enticed Lucia Rijker’s team to offer a fight on two occasions. “Nobody is going to knock me out in one round. That’s what they said about Christy (Martin) and that’s what they said about Jennifer (Alcorn). Yes, they are the elite, but I can hang with them. I was ticked when (boxing writers) said that. With Jessica I wouldn’t have been able to keep her away if I wasn’t able to see her punches because she is so fast. You have to know where to move and when to move that’s hard to be able to do that. To keep someone off of you your jab has to be strong enough to keep them away.”
On May 8, 2004 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, in Biloxi, Mississippi, Mia (132 lbs) stopped Lana Alexander (130 lbs) of Nashville, Tennessee in the fourth round of a scheduled six-rounder. Alexander fell to 2-4-0 (1 KO). (For more fight photos, see Photo Gallery #168 on the WBAN Records Member Site).
On May 23, 2004 at Club Avalon in Denver, Colorado, Mia (134 lbs) stopped Melissa Ayanas (130 lbs) of San Antonio, Texas at 0:34 in the third round of a scheduled six-rounder. RockyMountainBoxing.com reported that St. John "cruised" to a third round stoppage over the very game Ayanas. St. John used her jab early to wear Ayanas down. St. John then shot off a barrage of combinations that made the referee stop the fight. Ayanas fell to 3-2-0 (2 KOs).
On July 29, 2004 at the Arena in Oakland, California, Mia (135 lbs) advanced to 34-4-2 (15 KO) with a four-round unanimous (40-36,39-37,39-37) decision over Talia Smith (5'4", 128 lbs) of Cleveland, Ohio, who fell to 3-5-0 (3 KO) and had now lost five straight.
On August 13, 2004 at the Buffalo Chip Campground in Sturgis, South Dakota, Mia weighed in at 137 lbs and won a six-round unanimous decision over Ragan Pudwill (137 lbs) of Mandan, North Dakota.
On October 15 2004 at the
Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona
On November 6, 2004 at Grand Casino Coushatta in Kinder, Louisiana, Mia (131½ lbs) won a four-round unanimous (40-36,40-46,40-34) decision in a rematch with Lana Alexander (137 lbs) of Nashvile, Tennessee. Alexander fell to 2-6 (1 KO). For more fight photos and video clips, see Photo Gallery #223 and MPEG Gallery #225 on the WBAN Records Member Site.
On December 18, 2004 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Mia St. John (136 lbs) TKO'd Janae Archuleta (137 lbs) at 1:46 in the first round of a scheduled six-rounder. St. John caught Archuleta in a corner with a hard right, then with a left hook that she followed up with a flurry of punches. Referee Jose Cobian stopped the bout when Archuleta failed to respond. The crowd booed the stoppage, protesting that it was too early. St. John improved to 39-4-2 (16 KO), while Archuleta, who took the fight at short notice as a substitute for Lisa Lewis, fell to 4-10-1 (2 KO).
On February 3, 2005 at The Tank in San Jose, California, Mia (136 lbs) TKO'd Joy Irvin (130 lbs) of Arkansas at 1:14 in the second round of a scheduled four-rounder. This fight was described by WBAN correspondent Brian Low as an "old fashioned brawl" with both fighters throwing bombs from the start. Irvin had won her first six fight by KO and was looking to make this #7. Mia weathered a storm of punches before unleashing some bombs of her own at the end of the first round to let Joy know that "fight's on". After instructions between rounds Mia was up and ready for the second. She used her experience to score with punches inside Joy's bombs before throwing her own, then took advantage of Irvin's lack of defense skills to overwhelm her for the TKO. Irvin fell to 6-1 (6 KO) with the loss.
For more photos and video clips of this fight see MPEG/Photo Gallery #237 on the WBAN Records Member Site.
On February 10, 2005 at the
Palace Indian Gaming Center in Lemoore, California, Mia (137 lbs) lost
to Jessica Rakoczy (135¼ lbs) of Las Vegas by a TKO at the end of the
second round of a scheduled six-rounder. St. John, who took
the bout at short notice, had been cut over her eye in the second round
and did not come out for round three on the
of her corner. Rakoczy improved to 18-1 (6 KO's) while St.
John fell to 40-5-2 (17 KO). For more photos of this bout see Photo Gallery #240
on the WBAN Records
On June 12, 2005 at the Ohkay Casino at San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, Mia (134½ lbs) defeated Liz Drew (133¾ lbs) of Troy, Missouri by a ten-round unanimous (99-91,98-92,98-92) to win the IFBA Lightweight title. Drew, who was ranked #30 in the world at junior welterweight by WBAN prior to the fight, was considered a "soft" opponent for a world title belt, but she began the fight looking to pull off an upset by going at St. John aggressively. Drew landed several big rights while Mia struggled to hold her off with her jab. Drew won the first and second rounds on two judges' cards, cutting off the ring on St.John and staggering her with the right hands at times. St.John did some showboating to signify that she was not bothered by Drew's punches but St.John pulled the rest of the fight together convincingly as she began to connect solidly with her own right and her jab became more effective. As Drew wilted, St. John picked up her own pace and pounded her tiring opponent in the later rounds for a convincing decision. St. John earned her first legitimate belt a week before her 38th birthday, and moved her record to 41-5-2 (17 KOs) with the win. Drew fell to 9-8-0 (2 KOs) with the loss.
Before the fight Drew had said
that she was ready, fit and determined for her shot at St. John, but
Mia had trained at altitude in Idaho for two weeks before the bout to
prepare herself for the extra physical stress of fighting in mile-high
New Mexico. "I've been running and sparring four-minute
rounds nonstop at high altitude," said St. John before the
fight. "This is my shot at a world title and I plan to take
advantage of it."
On August 20, 2005 at the Capital Gym in Beijing, China, Mia (133 lbs) advanced to 42-5-2 (17 KOs) with a 10-round unanimous decision over Donna Biggers (133 lbs) of South Carolina, now 14-2-1 (13 KOs) for the IBA Continental Lightweight title. The judges scores were 99-91, 95-94, and 99-91.
On December 8, 2005 at Isleta Casino near Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holly Holm (5'8", 139½ lbs) of Albuquerque won a ten-round unanimous shutout (100-90) decision over Mia (139 lbs) defending her IBA 140-lb world title. According to Boxing Scene's Andy Rivera, "Round one started with St. John dancing around Holm, avoiding any contact she could. Holm immediately answered with a series of combos that backed St. John into the ropes several times. For every impending jab, it looked as if St. John was just trying to avoid being dropped to the canvas as opposed to just being hit. With Holm dominating the round, the crowd was sent into a frenzy cheering on their local favorite. In round two, St. John was cautiously looking for some sort of hole in Holm's offense, landing several shots, but unable to keep any sort of defense up as Holm would drop jab after jab on her. The second and third round had Holm landing countless solid jabs and body shots without giving St. John any chance to retaliate. Overpowered, St. John had yet to land a decent shot on Holm yet. In the fourth round, Holm had St. John on the ropes several times. Already dominating the fight, Holm was relentless and never slowed down a bit. The fifth and sixth round continued to have Holm control the fight by unleashing a volley of punches, forcing St. John into the corner, unable to counter or escape. The few times St. John was able to land solid jabs, Holm would answer with an onslaught of body shots and the occasional uppercut. In the eighth round, neither fighters were showing any significant fatigue, but it was clearly evident that St. John knew she was losing and there wasn't anything she could do about it except smile. Once again St. John is ineffective in either landing any punches or holding Holm back. The ninth round finally showed some physical wear on St. John. Upon several clean straight jabs by Holm, St. John appeared to be stunned, but not out entirely all the while Holm was still floating around the ring unscathed. The tenth round started with St. John able to punch Holm into a corner, but that was short lived when Holm fired back, easing the pressure St. John was putting on her. Into the ten second warning, both fighters unleashed whatever fight they had left in them before the bell had finally rung."
Holm improved her record to
12-1-2 (4 KOs) with the win.
On April 1, 2006 at Palo Duro Creek Country Club in Nogales, Arizona, Mia (138 lbs) won by a third-round TKO over WBAN #9 ranked lightweight Shelby Walker (135 lbs) of Indianapolis, Indiana. Mia improved to 43-6-2 (18 KOs) with the win while Walker dropped to 7-6-1 (6 KOs) with her fourth loss in her last five fights.
On June 23, 2006 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jelena Mrdjenovich (133 lbs) if Edmonton won a ten-round unanimous (97-93, 97-93,99-92) decision over Mia (134 lbs) to win the WIBF Lightweight title. Mrdjenovich improved to 17-1 (11 KOs).
On February 9, 2007 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Jaime Clampitt (135 lbs) won a ten round unanimous (100-90,100-90,99-91) decision over Mia (135 lbs) for the IWBF Lightweight title. According to a report by WBAN correspondent Ken Castro, "Clampitt emerged from a stale, lackluster effort from both participants in the early going by getting the best of an exchange of overhand rights in the third round. In the following round, Clampitt scored again with a crisp combo and again in the fifth round the Canadian native moved St. John back with a hard body shot. In the same round, St. John emerged unscathed from her first of two slips on the night, the latter coming in the waning seconds of the sixth go-around. In the seventh, Clampitt was bloodied as a result of a small gash in the upper portion of her forehead. Moments later, both fighters displayed crimson-stained faces to go with their pink gloves, which eventually also bore the mark of Clampitt’s cut. St. John stung her counterpart late in the eighth, when Clampitt was moving counter-clockwise, away from a clutch, with a nasty left to the jaw. But the damage that St. John leveled upon her opponent on the night was limited in scope, compressed into a scant moment of time. As such Clampitt, controlled the pace of the fight, right up until the final bell." Clampitt improved to 18-4-1 (6 KOs) with the win while St. John fell to 43-8-2 (18 KOs).
On April 20, 2007 at the Star Plaza Theater in
On June 14, 2008 at Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, Mexico, Mia St John (146 lbs) won an eight-round majority (78-74, 79-73,76-76) decision over Amy Yuratovac (147 lbs) to claim the WBC international welterweight crown. Yuratovac, who was a late replacement for the injured Rita Figueroa, fell to 6-2 (6 KO's) with the narrow loss.
On December 20, 2008 at Parque Andrés Quintana Roo in Cozumel, Mexico, Mia St. John won an eight round unanimous decision over Darys Pardo of Colombia for the vacant WBC International Lightweight title. St. John improved to 45-9-2 (18 KOs) while Pardo fell to 20-6-3 (16 KO's).
On April 4, 2009 at Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas, Mexico, Brooke Dierdorff (131 lbs) of Elgin, Illinois won an eight round unanimous (76-77,78-76,77-75) decision over Mia St. John (130 lbs) for the WBC International lightweight title. According to James Blears at Boxingscene.com, "Mia who'd lost in their first encounter in April 2007 due to a telephone booth style brawl, tried to use her longer reach this time around to box, but Brooke was again successful with her rough tactics which weren't elegant, but they proved effective. Mia started well boxing intelligently, but as the fight wore on there were more and more clinches. Mia who's left cheek was scuffed raw fought back with courage, cuffing Brooke in clinches with some short rights and going to the body. But Brooke's work rate was higher and she was giving marginally more than she was taking although there were not too many clean connecting punches. Mia caught Brooke charging in with a peach of a long arching right hook at the beginning of the eighth and final round. More of this marksmanship would have won her the fight, but Brooke had smothered her style. To their credit, both ladies showed their class with great sportswomanship following the final bell. And the crowd applauded Brooke for a hard fought win". Dierdorff improved to 5-4-1 (3 KO's).
On March 20, 2010 at Kuhberg Halle in Ulm, Germany Rola El-Halabi (135 lbs) of Ulm stopped Mia St.John (137¼ lbs) by TKO at 0:43 in the fifth round of a scheduled 10-rounder defending the WIBA and WIBF Lightweight titles. St.John was backed against the ropes where she took a barrage of punches without fighting back before the stoppage. Mia announced her retirement after this fight, with a record standing at 45-11-2 (18 KO's) while El-Halabi improved to 10-0-0 (6 KOs) with the win.
On October 16, 2010 at the Santa Ana Star Casino in Bernalillo, New Mexico, St.John (141 lbs) put her retirement on hold and won a six-round unanimous (60-54x3) decision over Tammy Franks (138 lbs) of San Antonio, Texas. Franks fell to 2-13-1 (0 KO's). WBAN correspondent Lori Steinhorst reported that "In her parting words after her fight, she said that Franks was a very tough opponent, and that at the age of 43 years old, she felt good about being able to fight." A rematch with Franks is reportedly scheduled for April 29 2011 in El Paso, Texas.
Chrity Martin vs Mia St.John in August 2012
On August 14, 2012 at Table Mountain Casino in Friant, California, USA, Mia St. John (146 lbs) won a ten-round unanimous (97-93,96-94,96-94) decision over Christy Martin (150¼ lbs) of Orlando, Florida for the WBC Junior Middleweight belt. Martin, who had been attacked and shot by her former husband in 2010, had said she was looking for her 50th pro win before she retired from the ring - but St.John had the better boxing skills in this rematch of two veterans who had fought each other before in 2002. St.John moved well in the early rounds then was willing to mix it up with a visibly tiring Martin in the later going. The final round saw Martin drop her hands as if daring St.John to try to knock her out; St.John landed a long series of punches with little visible effect on Martin, then eased off and embraced her at the final bell. "We started together, we're ending together" said St.John while Martin observed that "Father Time has called my day". St.John, who indicated - again - that this would also be her last pro fight, advanced to 47-11-2 (18 KO's) as Martin ended her career at 49-7-3 (31 KO's).
On November 10, 2012 at the Home
Base Building in Bakersfield, California, USA, Tiffany Junot (142 lbs)
of New Orleans, Louisiana defeated Mia St. John (146 lbs) by a
ten-round unanimous (98-94,96-94,97-93) decision for the WBC Junior
Middleweight title. Junot improved to 10-3-1 (6 KO's) with the win.
On April 13, 2013 at Arena Nord in Frederikshavn, Denmark, Cecilia Braekhus (144½ lbs) of Bergen, Norway won by a TKO at 1:38 in the third round over Mia St. John (140¼ lbs) defending the WBA, WBC and WBO Welterweight titles. St.John offered little resistance to Braekhus as she fell to 47-13-2 (18 KO's). Braekhus improved her record to a perfect 22-0 (6 KO's).
Mia St. John's boxing career had parallels with Anna Kournikova's in pro tennis ... her visual appeal made her the most photographed and recognized female pro boxer. She developed the skills she needed to survive against top level competition like Christy Martin, Jenifer Alcorn Jessica Rakoczy or Holly Holm, but most of her wins came against more lightly regarded opponents. Her eventual willingness to get into the ring with opponents like Martin, Alcorn, Rakoczy and Holm earned her marks for toughness (and also showed that she had greatly improved her defense since her KO loss to Rolanda Andrews).
Just like Kournikova, Mia St. John's business plan has made the most of her looks, and became well-known despite limited athletic skills compared to the top competitors in her sport. She's executed her plan well, but the real lesson of her career for other female boxers may simply be that ... to get big paydays ... it's every bit as important to work hard to publicize yourself outside the ring as it is to work to improve your skills inside it.
More Mia St. John Links
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Page last updated: Monday February 03, 2014
WBAN Boxer Bio by Dee Williams