Terms of use l Contact us l Staff



Mia St. John
Knocking Down the Obstacles and the Competition...She Battles the Odds to Become a Top-Ranked Female Boxer

There's more to former Playboy cover girl Mia St. John than a pretty smile and a killer body.  This proud Latina definitely has both, but this chica mas fina could kick your ass! 

Female boxing sensation St. John, who's in-ring moniker is appropriately "The Knockout," has cold-cocked more than half of her opponents en-route to an impressive undefeated streak. 

To show her more feminine side and raise awareness of her sport, St. John appeared on the cover of Playboy's November 1999 Playboy, which included a much-publicized interview with Minnesota Governor, XFL announcer and former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura.  In a steamy pictorial, St. John bared all inside the boxing ring.

Now as she gears for a May 13, 2001 return to the ring, this time clothed and ready to fight, St. John bares her soul for YourMVP.  In a moving discussion with Sandro Galindo, Mia lets her guard down and explains why she no longer signs Playboys, discusses her massive Latino fan following, and details her childhood battle with alcoholism.   

YourMVP:  OK, you're fighting on Mother's Day!

Mia: Right!  On Univision at 12:00 West Coast time.

Why Univision?

Because that's where my promoter has me right now.  I started on Univision and then he crossed me over to American TV, Pay-Per-View, to fight on the undercard for Oscar de la Hoya.  Then de la Hoya left us last June. . .

He left you?

Mia St. John

He left our promoter.  He won a lawsuit and now he's free.  So now Bob has to put me on Univision.  July 28th for the Roy Jones, Jr. fight I'll go back on Pay-Per-View. 

Your record right now is 21 wins, zero losses with 12 knockouts.

Well, I say it's 22-0 with 12 knockouts but my sister, who's sitting next to me right now, says it's 21-0.  I'm going to have to call "Fight Facts."  We're missing a fight.  She says she's right, and I say I'm right.  We'll have to call and find out the actual record.

You have fought several women at least twice.  Why is that?  Are there not enough female boxers out there or are they learning the hard way that they can't beat you?

You do see women fighting several times just like the men.  They do the same thing.  I just think that for the women the pool of fighters isn't that large. It's very difficult to find opponents.  It's very difficult to find sparring partners.  It's just hard.  But you see the men doing the same thing.

Have you seen the film, "Girlfight?"

No, I haven't.

You should definitely see it.  In the film there are women fighting men because there aren't enough female boxers.

I didn't know that, but that's absolutely ridiculous.  It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.  I mean, I don't want to see the WNBA with the NBA!  Or that's like saying I could take on Oscar de la Hoya.

Are you and Oscar friends in any way?

Yes, we are good friends.  I opened for him for almost three years.  I adore him.

You are Mexican also? 


Each of your parents is Mexican?

Yes.  My mother was born and raised in Zacatecas.

In the northern part of Mexico.


And your father?

I don't know him.

Who is the most amazing woman you know?

That would have to be my mother.

Why do you say that?

Because she's the strongest woman I know.  She raised me to be who I am today.

What's the best quality you think you inherited from her?

Her aggressiveness.  Her will.  Her spirit.  Her determination.

Had female boxing been as popular as it is today do you think she would be a boxer?

No because my mother was the housewife.  Boxing is a sport that is really the Mexican sport after soccer.  She knows a lot about it and is definitely supportive of it.

Have you ever fought in Mexico?

No, my promoter can only promote in the United States.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done to make yourself better looking?

The dumbest thing?


Hmmmm. . .

I'm sitting here looking at your "Playboy."  The only issue of "Playboy" I own is the one with you on the cover. 


It's because I'm a big Jesse Ventura fan and he's got an interview in there.

Oh yeah!  That's so funny because that interview generated so much controversy with all of the statements he made.

Right!  And back then, it was the only reason I bought it.

That's so funny!

So, in looking through your pictorial here, I'm wondering what's the dumbest thing you've ever done to make yourself look better?

I would say dieting when I didn't have to.  Because now that I have to make weight for each fight I realize how ridiculous it was in the past that I dieted just for looks.  Now I think, how ridiculous, I would give anything if I didn't have to diet today.

(Laughing)  Have you had to gain weight for any of your fights?

When I fight Christy Martin I will have to gain weight.

So you are going to fight Christy Martin?

Yes, in September.

You've always said you wanted to fight her.

Yes, and that will be on Pay-Per-View.

What's the wildest thing you've ever done in public?

Hmmmmm. . . The wildest thing I've ever done in public. . .

Any wild and crazy things in college?

No, I'm not a wild person.  I'm very conservative.

Are you?

Yeah, I'm very conservative.

What do you think of Jesse Ventura?

I like him!  I don't know much about him but I like him.  I even like the comments he made in the Playboy interview.  They were pretty right on.

Including that religion is a crutch for people.  

Yes, exactly.  I totally believe that. 

Do you affiliate yourself with any religion? 

Absolutely not.  I was raised in every different religion you can think of.  I was Mormon, Jehova's Witness, Catholic, Christian. . . I don't believe in any of them today because I went to college.


I mean, you can't possibly be an educated person and still believe in religion.

What college did you end up at?

(giggles)  My sister's cringing right now.  I went to California State University of Northridge and I graduated with a psychology degree.  (lets out another laugh)  My sister's dying.

How many siblings do you have?

I have one sister and one brother.

Are you the oldest?

I'm in the middle.  (pauses with indistinct talking in background)  Oh, she wants me to tell you that I'm very spiritual, which I am.  I believe in a higher power, I just don't believe in God per se.  I have my own God.

Is there any Aztec blood running through your veins?

Oh definitely!  My mother's family is almost untouched by the Spaniards.  They're still very much Aztec and you can see that when you look at them physically.  And Zacatecas was a state that was basically untouched by the Spaniards and so you'll see a lot of Indians in that area. 

Do you mostly appeal to the Hispanic community?  Do you see a lot of them in the audience during your fights?

Absolutely!  Probably 95 percent of my fan base are the Latinos.  Everywhere I go the Latinos know my name.  They know the history about me.  They know everything there is to know about me.  They're the largest fan base in the crowd when I fight.  That's everything to me.  Those are. . .

Mia's Sister:  (to Mia) Your people.

Those are my people.  Those are the most important fans in my life.

What's the most satisfying thing you do each day or week?


You enjoy it that much?

I live, eat and breathe training.

I ran a half marathon yesterday. . .

You did?!  13.1 miles?

Actually 13.8.  It was a marathon relay race here in Cleveland and my partner ran the remaining 12.4 miles.  You run marathons also!  That's something I'm hoping to accomplish some day.

I did the L.A. marathon, all 26.2 miles and it was the funnest thing I've ever done in my whole life. 

How do you get past fourteen miles?  I cannot get past fourteen miles.

No, you can!  It's a mental thing.  After the fourteenth mile it's all mental.  It's just believing that your body can do that.

So it's not my legs that are begging me to stop, but it's my mind.

Your body won't break down unless you honestly believe it's going to break down.  But it won't! (laughing) Trust me!  I did it and people said, "Just because you're an athlete doesn't mean you can run a marathon."  Well, yes it does.  It's all mental.  I ran it and I didn't stop once.

What would you be doing if you were to change careers?

I would definitely be using my degree and working with kids.  I was working with kids throughout college and I would go back to doing that.

You have two children. One is named Paris and I can't recall the name of the other one.

He's named Julian.  (in Spanish)  Julian y Paris.

You've said that you've had problems with alcohol in the past.

I was drinking at the age of ten and I got sober at the age of 20. . . 21.  And I'm 13 years sober now.

If you saw your children walking down that path what would you tell them?

Oh my God. . . I would. . . I would absolutely die because my son is 11 years old and to think that I was an alcoholic already by the time I was his age. . . (pauses)  I would be devastated.  I would do everything I could to let them know. . . They know my past. . .

They do?!

Yes, they do but that's not going to stop them.  But I think I raised them well enough and in a good environment.  They're born and raised in Calabasas, CA, which is basically the Beverly Hills of California on my side of town, so I can't imagine that they'd ever get into that, but you never know!  There's no guarantees.

They may not know it until they try it.


Is it true you're singing?

Yes, I should have my CD out by the new year.

What's the name of it?

Well. . .  we changed the title of it a couple of times.  I don't want to say yet.

This weekend was the Billboard Latin Music Awards Show.  Did you watch it or were you there?

I didn't watch them.

Have you heard of the Puerto Rican group named "Son by Four?"

Oh yeah!  They did a magazine I just did, "Ritmo Beat."

They have a pretty good song out and won some awards for it.  Are you hoping to win some awards with this CD?


Is it all in Spanish?

No, it's half Spanish and half English.  My best language: Spanglish (laughing).  That's the language I speak.

(both laughing)  What's the worst punishment you've ever encountered in the ring?

I would have to say it's when girls get in the ring and run from me.


When girls don't put up a fight, I hate that worse than anything.  I hate it when girls come to survive and not to fight.  I come to win, I come to kick your ass and I hope you do the same.  But a lot of them just come to hang on for dear life. I feel like if you're going to do that then don't get in the ring.

Do you think they just want a paycheck?

They want a paycheck and they want to be able to say they fought me and survived or even possibly won.  But I come for a totally different reason.  I come to kill you.  And that's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to win at all costs.  I don't care what it takes, I'm going to beat you.  Especially if you're a 'gringa' you have no chance, no chance whatsoever.

Early on in your career you were criticized because it was said you were learning on the job.  You were basically thrust into the national spotlight without being ready.  Do you still hear this?

Yes well, I said that.  My first promoter was Don King.  I was pushed into the spotlight from day one.  I came out of Tae Kwon Do after 23 years and became a professional boxer by signing with Don King and fighting on national television.  That's where I learned to box.  Until they change the laws for professionals that's what you're going to see.  You're going to see women that don't know what they're doing getting into the ring.  At least I was a fighter my entire life where a lot of these women don't know the first thing about fighting or what it is to compete.

You almost entered the Olympics for Tae Kwon Do.

That was my goal, but by the time they officially allowed it into the Olympics I was too old.  I was 29.  I had to either turn pro or continue to fight for free the rest of my life.  The only reason to turn pro is to make money.  That's the only reason for going from amateur to professional, to eventually make money.

According to the Chinese calendar you were born in the year of the goat.  Goats are said to spend their time primping and posing.  They're not very well organized.  They're not materialistic.  Does that describe you in any way?

That's not me.

Is that your complete opposite?  Do you primp and pose in front of the mirror?

No!  God, no.  When I have to do an interview for a TV show then I have to, but no, I don't stand in the mirror and look at myself.  And I don't want to say I'm materialistic, but I know the importance of money because I grew up without it.

How do you relieve tension?


(both laughing)  Do prefer to train alone so you can think?

Always!  But I love having my trainers around because they keep me on my toes and keep me doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

I checked on Ebay and saw that copy of the November 1999 Playboy in which you appeared, autographed by you is going for $20.  At the same time a jacket with the words Tom Green on it is going for $20.50.  Isn't there some kind of disparity going on there?

That's why I don't sign "Playboys" anymore.  People are taking them and selling them.  And if I do sign them it has to be with their name on them.  But that's what people do.  They have you sign stuff and they go sell it.

There's even a boxing glove with your autograph on there going for $15.  Do you still sign boxing gloves or have you stopped that also? 

No, I will still sign boxing gloves because I think those are a little bit harder to sell than the "Playboys." 

All right, let me ask you one last question then. . . Oh, wait!  Were you in a film called "Skeeter?"

Ummmm. . . (slightly embarrassed laughter) A long time ago. (still laughing)

What'd you do in that movie?  How'd you get that?

It was years ago.  I just did a dumb little part.  You know, I was putting myself through school. . .

I've never heard of that film, what was it about?

Giant killer mosquitos.

(both laughing)  Do you think it's at the local Blockbuster?

It's an old movie but probably.

What do you know for sure?

Is that the question?

That's my last question.

I know for sure that I was destined to be something great in my life.  That's why I had to go through all of the obstacles I went through in life because I knew that my higher power was going to make me something great in life. . . to help inspire other kids.  To let them know to be proud of their race, to be proud of who you are and never let anyone tear you down.  I think that's important for Latina women to know, that we're beautiful.  We're brown and beautiful and should be proud of where we come from.  I grew up in midwestern states where I was criticized because of the color of my skin.  It made me hate what I was for so long.  Now I'm the total opposite.  Now I love who I am and wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

Don't you think those people were just jealous?  I know one of the states you grew up in was Idaho.

I went to school in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Iowa, Texas, Arizona, you name it, all over the U.S.  I just think people are scared of what they don't know.  I was the only minority in my school so they just didn't know any better.  They didn't know what I was or why I was dark and they were white.  (pauses) I used to think that I would be perfect if I was blonde and blue-eyed.  Now I know that I'm perfect just the way I am.

Do you instill that in your children?

Definitely!  My kids. . . they also go to an all-white school.  I teach them that they're brown and that's beautiful.  Be brown and proud!

Interview by Sandro Galindo

For more information on Mia, visit:

Back to top


This Issue!!

In the Mix
Locker Room
Film Review

Got a comment on our content, or have questions?

Contact Us


Madison Avenue

Rena Mero

Kaila Yu

Deborah Gibson

Maya Days

Danni Ashe

Shae Marks

Barbie Benson

Melanie Thornton

Julie Strain

Elke Jeinsen

Samantha 7

Kristine W

Erin Gray

Shawna Kenney

Lina Koutrakos

Neriah Davis

Sharmell Sullivan

Jocelyn Enriquez

Vanessa Sanchez

© 2001 by PEP3 Entertainment – – All Rights Reserved