By Jackie Kallen
Yes, she lost her last fight in Denmark last weekend, getting KOed in the 3rd round. Yes, she will be 46 years old in June. But my friend Mia St John has definitely made her mark in female boxing. She showed women everywhere that beauty and brawn do not have to be mutually exclusive. I am very proud of her and all that she has achieved.
Born Mia Rosales, she added the St John when she married actor Kristoff St. John. They later divorced, but had two children together. Mia was already 29 years old when the boxing bug bit her. Already accomplished at taekwondo, she turned pro in 1997 and KOed her opponent Angelica Villain in 54 seconds. Her nickname became “The Knockout.” And she truly was.
A model and college grad, Mia was a cut above the typical female fighter. Articulate and bi-lingual, she quickly became a star. This made her a target for the other female boxers who were not as glamorous and not as well-connected. Mia always held her head high and did not get into the fray.
Mia got signed by Top Rank and started fighting on the undercards of Oscar De la Hoya’s fights. She received international exposure and a revered status in the Latino community. With skillful match-making, Mia amassed a 22-0 record before getting her first draw at the Olympic Auditorium in LA against Imelda Arias. She suffered her first loss a few months later.
Always a sensation with the male fans, Mia dazzled when she stepped into the ring. Her beauty outshone her skills, but she accepted that gracefully and was smart enough to use it to her advantage. She was on the cover of Playboy in 1999, which earned her even more fame. This angered the many other female boxers who struggled along in anonymity and they often ridiculed her abilities and referred to her as a Barbie Doll. Again Mia took the high road.
She lost a battle with Christy Martin in 2002, but fought a lot better than the boxing critics expected her to, gaining a degree of respect she lacked prior to the match. She showed that she was more than a pretty face attached to a killer body.
Along the way, Mia did a ton of charity work. She does motivational speaking, she has received many awards and kudos, and is always warm and friendly to her league of fans.
Whether or not Mia retires, she has made her mark on this sport. She showed the world that a female fighter can be successful while also being beautiful, a mother, and a wife. She has fought 62 times as a pro and although she lost 13 of those fights, she collected many titles and belts and has gotten more media attention than most other boxers (male or female.)
There is nothing left for Mia St. John to prove. She has fought in Mexico, Germany, Denmark, China and Canada. Her face is recognized in boxing circles around the globe. With her children now grown, it is Mia’s time to pursue other dreams and ventures. She is a businesswoman and a sometimes-actress. She has been on TV numerous times and has starred in the fitness video “Workout with a Knockout.”
Knowing Mia personally for over 15 years, I am sure that she will move on to conquer new frontiers. She has her health, her mental sharpness, and her looks in tact. It will be fun to see what Mia St. John does next.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen