Mitchell’s alias is rightly ‘The Miracle’, for having survived extreme hardship in early life and prevailing over misfortune.
In other words, fighting has always been a part of her life.
“I had to fight for myself. My childhood was a dark place that I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” she has told.
From an abused foster child abandoned at 10 days old to a world champion at 36 is miraculous.
On 10 October 2021, the American travelled to Liverpool, England, and won a 10-round majority decision over Shannon Courtenay to become the new WBA bantamweight champion of the world.
“It feels good to be a world champion,” says Las Vegas-based Jamie Mitchell (7-0-2, 4 KOs) in this exclusive interview with WBSS.
But there is no indication of resting on the laurels, satisfaction, or satiety.
“I’m on ‘go mode’,” she says. “I’m so hungry. I wanna get better and better. I’m not satisfied. That’s my mentality.
“I wanna keep going and get more belts. Stepping up the weight classes and stuff like that.
“My dream right now for my career is to continue to grow, continue to work. Capitalising on everything I do. So stay tuned, keep watching.”
And age is just a number, she emphasizes firmly.
“Age doesn’t matter. When I get up in there I fight like I’m 16 years old. It’s all about what’s in your mind. And sky is not the limit, what’s in your mind is the limit.”
The journey to the top of boxing started 20 years ago when she was in fact 16 years old. Boxing was not only a place to outlet anger, it was a world where talent was evident from day 1.
“I always liked to fight, and I got into a street fight, and I was always unnaturally strong, and I ended up breaking the girl’s jaw.
“It was like, what can we do to make you stop fighting. And I said I want to go to the gym, I want to become a boxer.
“I remember the first day, they threw me in with this girl and she was like super tall and way older than me, she was like 32. I thought she was beating me up really bad, but they called me ‘Mike Tyson’s daughter’ and from that point on I just kept coming back, I was just being relentless about it. I just loved it. That was my way into the game.”
Hearing Mike Tyson’s name in a metaphor about her abilities was sweet music to Mitchell’s ears.
“Mike Tyson was my idol, I heard everything about him and watched him. Muhammad Ali was also someone I looked up to and still look up to, but Tyson was the one who really moved me into boxing.
“On the female side, I have looked up to Claressa Shields, Marlen Esparza, Katie Taylor, Ann Wolfe, ‘Queen’ Underwood.”
Mitchell just fell short in her dreams of going to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and after a solid amateur career, with 40 victories and 10 losses, she turned professional in 2017.
Some of her early fights were on the road, small hall shows in Mexico far from the spotlight of the media, fans, and big-time promoters.
Her chance to shine on a big stage came late in her career, but she never doubted she would grab it with both hands when it finally came.
“I always wanted to do things on a big scale, definitely believed in myself and what I can do. They gave me the opportunity at 36 years old thinking I’m just old and washed up. No.
“It’s definitely levels to this, and you have to go through the levels to be successful in this game. When things are getting handed to you, you are skipping levels.
“I just truly believe, that even though I didn’t get opportunities and I got cheated in certain situations in my career even at amateurs, staying true and humble and dedicated to the game will get you far.”
There are more opportunities in women’s boxing today compared to when Mitchell laced the gloves for the first time. But the potential is far from reached, she says.
“Female boxing could be in a way better place. It’s come a long way. We went from not even having the Olympics to having the Olympics. There will be more improvements, and it’s happening slowly, but it needs to happen faster.
Jamie Mitchell sees herself and other trailblazers leading the way for future generations in women’s boxing.
“People like Claressa Shields and the people I’ve mentioned that I’ve admired, including myself, I think we gonna pave the way for people coming up behind us. And that’s what it’s about.”
“I would like to see more opportunities for us, I would like to see us getting paid more money, I would like to see us fighting three-minute rounds as well.
“Women fighters are a lot more exciting so with that extra minute you gonna see a lot more knockouts. And you gonna see a lot more action, we already see a lot of action, but you gonna get a lot more for your buck.
“We are in the sport too. As women competing with other women, we should be treated just like men competing with other men. I feel like we should be treated equally.”
We have Season III coming up, women’s super-featherweights questing for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, there is also a four-way 140-pounds tourney going on at the moment. Do you think tournaments are good for women’s boxing?
“Tournaments for women are great because you know why? Men are doing it. So I think it’s great for women. Like I say we have come a long way since 2012. And there is a lot of people coming out of the amateurs that are badass.
“Tournaments are making women wanna box even more because you gotta have an incentive. It gives the fighters the opportunity to make more money. Get you seen more by the world.”