Exclusive Interview With "The Knock Out," Mia St. John
by James Slater - Fans everywhere will be fully aware of the name Mia St. John. A trailblazer for female boxing in the 1990s, when the stunning beauty fought on a number of big cards - including fights of Oscar De La Hoya - Mia became a household name. The former Tae Kwon Do champion's profile was further enhanced by a well publicised nude photo shoot for Playboy magazine in 1999. But Mia has certainly proved she is way more than just a pretty face (and body).
Article posted on 29.10.2009
Set to embark on one further fight in her boxing career, Mia is also involved with charity work and she also does motivational speaking tours across America. Having also finished her first book, and having began work on her second, Mia can now also add the title of writer to her accomplished C.V. Very kindly taking time out to speak with me about a varying amount of subjects earlier today, Mia gave the following answers to my questions:
James Slater: It's great to speak with you, Mia. I really appreciate your time. There's lots to talk about where you are concerned, but can I start with your two books? Your fitness book, "The Knock Out Workout," and the planned book of your memoirs - is the memoirs book due to be out soon?
Mia St. John: No, that book's not done yet. Right now, we're focusing on the fitness book, which is in stores now and also available on Amazon. It's a three part book, focusing not just on physical fitness, and it's good for everyone - not just women..
J.S: I think it would be a good book for anyone who wants to get fit. But I must say, I'm really looking forward to the memoirs book - I think that will be a fascinating read.
M.S.J: Yeah, it will probably be out next year. The deal is, we have to give this book [the workout book] it's chance first. That's the deal with the publishers - they have to make their money back with this book first (laughs). But the fitness book has parts of my life story in there; about my time growing up, the obstacles I had to overcome and of course my boxing - important stuff like that. Just not in as much detail as the memoirs book will be.
J.S: Was a workout book something you always wanted to write, even before you were famous?
M.S.J: Yeah, I always did want to write a book. I really wanted to be a role model for women, well, for everyone actually. I wanted to show that anyone can do it, you know? Whatever background a person has, wherever they come from, they can aspire to be whatever they want to be. It's a kind of, "If I can do it, so can you" attitude.
J.S: There's no doubting your fitness and great conditioning - that goes without saying. But do you plan to box again, or has your fighting career finished now?
M.S.J: I will be having a fight in Germany next year, and I think - I hope - that will be the last one. The reason I say that is, I feel like I've come to the end of a great ride. Women's boxing is not what it was back in the 1990s, when I was opening for Oscar De La Hoya. It was a fun ride, it really was. Now female boxing needs new talent.
J.S: Do you know who you'll be fighting in Germany?
M.S.J: Yes, it will be Rola El Halabi (according to Box Rec, March 20th, 2010, Halabi being 9-0(5) at present).
J.S: Well, we look forward to that. It would be good to see you go out with a win, seeing as how that's going to be your last fight.
M.S.J: Thank you.
J.S: Your last fight, a rematch against Brooke Dierdorff in April of this year, which you lost on points - I never saw the fight in Mexico, but I read it was a rough fight, with some illegal tactics?
M.S.J: Yes, that's how she fights - that's her style. It was a tough loss for me. I kind of took it hard. But I got over it and I've moved on now.
J.S: You've achieved so much in your life, but especially in boxing. Being one of the trailblazers of female boxing and having brought so much attention and publicity to it - is that something that you are most proud of?
M.S.J: I don't really want to say I'm most proud of that ...... I guess I'd say it was a wonderful ride, but as far as being proud.............. I'd say I'm more proud of the things I've done since I got some fame and some money; my charity foundation and my work for kids. I give talks to kids all over, at schools and at colleges. So I'm more proud of that. You know, I think it's important to use the notoriety and the fame and money I've gotten to help others. I really think it's a waste and a shame if you don't do that. You have to give back and I enjoy doing that.
J.S: That's a great attitude. Do you still follow female boxing today? Are there any particular female boxers you admire today?
M.S.J: Well, I don't think there's any female boxing on U.S TV today. There might be in Mexico, where I last fought, but I haven't seen any on U.S television. The thing is, today's amateurs, that I've seen in the gym, they're phenomenal. I think female boxing has come a long way since the days of me and Christy Martin. They are so technically sound - they fight like men, they really do. It's a different generation now, which is why it's time for me to retire (laughs). They're not even in my category now. And I think that's great. I did what I could for the female side of the sport - I helped get it onto national television - and now it's time for the younger girls to take over.
J.S: You have so many strings to your bow - what with the boxing, the writing and the Playboy modelling of course. Have you any other plans in the pipeline? Like maybe acting, for example?
M.S.J: Yeah, I have a new show coming out next month, called "Street Verdict," and of course I'm a boxing trainer. I've got nine new DVD's coming out in the fall.
J.S: I know you also do a lot of personal appearances, such as the one set for Boston on November 21st and 22nd.
M.S.J: Yes, the Super Mega Fest (www.supermegafest.com)
J.S: Are you excited and looking forward to that?
M.S.J: Of course. I love to do signings - I do them all over the nation. I love to travel and to meet fans from all over. It's like work without being at work!
J.S: When you meet fans, and they come up to you, what kind of things do they ask you about?
M.S.J: I get all sorts of questions actually. Some fans ask me about my book, other ask me about how they can lose weight and get in shape. Others ask me about the obstacles I had to overcome in my life. While others ask me about the Playboy shoot.
J.S: Is it normally men who come to talk to you, and do you get the odd, shall we say, lewd question?!
M.S.J: Yeah, the majority are males actually. I do get asked some crazy stuff (laughs). But on the whole they are really sweet. I've had no real problems.
J.S: Getting back to your fighting talents. You were a most accomplished Tae Kwon Do fighter, and also a top boxer. But which sport is the tougher in your opinion?
M.S.J: Boxing's tough because of the possibility of long-term damage. I mean, boxing can prove to be fatal in some cases. There is definitely a lot more serious brain injury in boxing. With Tae Kwon Do, it's more just a case of bruises and broken bones and sprains. Boxing has so much more danger when it comes to long-term baring injury. It really is a dangerous sport.
J.S: And which sport did you most enjoy out of the two?
M.S.J: Well, I was good at Tae Kwon Do, and I got to be good at boxing - but quite late in my career. It took me a longer time to get the hang of boxing. I love boxing more, I'd say, but I wish I didn't, because it is so dangerous. I really do think that if things don't change in boxing, it shouldn't really be allowed. I mean, in some states there isn't even a commission and the fighters are not getting enough protection. I've had fights where nobody has even checked the gloves - and my opponent's gloves have actually been tampered with. That's just terrible. And it has to stop.
J.S: This is a whole other subject, Mia, and one for another full interview. You are obviously making some good points though - even though many fans won't like reading what you've said. I mean, I love boxing, even though I know it has problems.
M.S.J: I know the fans don't like what I've had to say on this. But do they really care about what happens to a fighter? They [the fans] are drinking and are just out for a good time when they are at a fight - they don't really care about the individual fighter. They only want to see blood and knockouts; which is just human nature, I know. But I've got to speak out on behalf of the fighters.
J.S: It is interesting what you say about the gloves not being checked, especially in light of the still fresh in the mind thing regarding Antonio Margarito.
M.S.J: Exactly. The California Commission is a great commission, but the Margarito thing happened in California. Those gloves were not even checked - nobody noticed any discrepancy until after the fight. There's no excuse for that. Somebody could get killed if gloves are tampered with. It really is a serious issue.
J.S: You do make very good points, Mia. But as I say that subject is a whole other interview. Let's move back to more pleasant things if we can. Of all the fights you had, what performance do you list as you proudest moment?
M.S.J: I'd say my fight with Christy Martin. I was just so technically sound in that fight, even though I lost on points. I think that was my best performance and I'm very proud of it.
J.S: Well, I could talk with you all day, Mia. It's been great. I really look forward to your autobiography. I think that will be a fascinating read - maybe even a best seller. I know you have lots of other things to keep you busy, but I hope the book is out soon.
M.S.J: Thank you. I hope it's a best seller (laughs).
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