Jaime Clampitt’s Second Act

Former two-division world champion Jaime “The Hurricane” Clampitt faces tough Ecuadorian Josefina Vega in the “Summer Heat 2023” co-feature at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT on Saturday, August 12th

(August 8, 2023) – Hall-of-Famer Jaime “The Hurricane” Clampitt (24-6-2, 7 KOs) continues her comeback on Saturday night, facing Josefina Vega (9-5, 4 KOs) in an 8-round lightweight bout. The fight serves as the co-feature to Chordale Booker’s WBC US super welterweight title defense against Nicolas Hernandez on CES Boxing’s stacked “Summer Heat 2023” show at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.

This will be Clampitt’s 5th bout since coming out of retirement in 2021 after an 8-year layoff, when she left the squared circle to raise her family and pursue other interests. The Warwick, RI, resident initially retired after suffering an injury in a TKO loss to Holly Holm in 2010.

“I had 2 young children and training with toddlers was pretty much impossible,” reflects Clampitt of the difficult decision to leave the sport. “After my son, I wanted to try it one more time and have a retirement fight and then I thought ‘I’m done.’”

Having won 4 major world titles across 2 weight classes, Clampitt won a unanimous decision over Dominga Olivo at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI, and left boxing in 2013 with a 21-5-1 record, having accomplished her lifelong dream of becoming a world champion several times over.

But while Jaime focused on her family and “On the Ropes,” a gym located in Warwick that she owns with 3 other women, a funny thing happened to female boxing: the sport exploded in popularity with the emergence of Irish superstar Katie Taylor in a way that no one could have imagined.

“I didn’t think I’d have another chance at this, but women like Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano brought female boxing to another level,” admits Clampitt, who stayed active during her hiatus by bodybuilding and training amateur fighters. “Once I started to see that, I thought: ‘I’m still in awesome shape, I’m in the gym every day. Why not? Let’s just see what happens.’”

As Clampitt contemplated a return to the ring, she called her friend and now trainer Steve Maze about working out again.

“I said, ‘let’s just hit the mitts and see what happens,’” recalls Clampitt, who returned to the sport almost 8 years later in 2021. “I never lost the love for boxing, and once I started training, I just got that desire and drive again.”

What Clampitt wasn’t aware of is that because she had been retired for more than 5 years, she was being considered for the International Boxing Hall of Fame at a time when she was planning a comeback.

“I didn’t know that I was nominated,” laughs Clampitt. “One day, one of the amateur boxers that I trained said ‘Why didn’t you tell me that you were nominated into the hall of fame?’ I didn’t even know. It was a surprise. I was wondering: should I be coming out of retirement? I just got this nomination, I don’t know, but everyone was so supportive and understanding.”

When Jaime returned, she noticed that female boxing had drastically changed – not only were women being compensated more fairly, but they were headlining major events.

“I’ve been to quite a few big fights over the years, and Taylor-Serrano was the most insane fight I’ve ever been to,” says Clampitt of the 2022 ‘Fight of the Year’ between two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. “I actually cried because I was so proud of both of them.”

The fight was the culmination of years of growth in a sport where the female fighters are setting the example of the best facing the best. The attention garnered was nothing like what the 47-year-old experienced earlier in her career.

“I got my pro license in 1999 and my first pro fight in 2000, so I’ve been around forever,” explains Clampitt. “When I started amateur boxing in 1992, they didn’t even want to put us on amateur shows or even have us in the gym. No one would even put us on shows until I met Mr. [Jimmy] Burchfield [Sr., founder of CES Boxing]. He is a pioneer of female boxing. He was one of the first promoters that put females on, so to see these women headlining at Madison Square Garden was very emotional for me.”

Indeed, Jimmy Burchfield Sr. played a pivotal role in Clampitt relocating from her native Gravelbourg in Saskatchewan, Canada, to settling and fighting out of Warwick, Rhode Island.

“I got the opportunity to fight Liz Mueller at Foxwoods, and she was promoted by Jimmy,” recalls Clampitt of her first fight in the United States in February 2001, when she was 3-0. “I knew who she was because we were in the world championships in Finland together. We fought on ESPN at a time when women were not featured on TV. Teddy Atlas was commentating the fight, and everyone thought I won it.”

Mueller was awarded a close majority decision, but Clampitt’s performance impressed Burchfield so much that he offered her a contract a few months later. By June of that year, “The Hurricane” was making her CES debut in her adopted state of Rhode Island, where she’s lived ever since. The pairing paid off, as Clampitt rose to the top of the lightweight and super lightweight divisions under CES Boxing’s banner.
2007 turned out to be Clampitt’s best year. In February, she won the IBF lightweight title against the ultra-popular Mia St. John. Clampitt followed that up in June with a unanimous decision over the legendary Jane Couch for the vacant IBF super lightweight title.
“Mr. Burchfield always treated me with the upmost respect and believed in me,” says Clampitt of her longtime promoter. “When I fought Mia St. John, I was the main event. That was unheard of. Besides Christy Martin, there weren’t a lot of females headlining shows. He took a chance on me, and I will forever be grateful because not only did he do a ton for my career, but he did a lot for female boxing getting us known and seen because he was putting me on TV.”

And while the sport has changed in many ways, Clampitt has also gained a lot from her time away from it.

“My style has changed over the years,” says Jaime of her evolution. “I had a long amateur career, so when I started, I showed a lot of movement and boxed on my toes. As I’ve aged, I feel stronger and I feel like I have more power, so I like to get in there and mix it up. I spent years building a lot of strength and I like to use that a lot more in the ring now.”

Not only did Jaime’s physical strength improve, but the years away allowed her hands to fully recover after dozens of amateur and professional fights.

“It was a lot of start-stop for me at the time,” says Jaime of nagging hand injuries. “It was very disappointing when I was younger, but the rest in between allowed my body to heal. I had 8 years off before my comeback. I didn’t spar when I was off. I was lifting weights, I was raising kids, I was in the gym, but not getting hit. That’s given me longevity.”

On Saturday, the rejuvenated Clampitt plans to use all of her experience and boxing ability when she faces the little known Josefina Vega at Mohegan Sun Arena.

“She’s a veteran of the sport,” says Clampitt of her Ecuadorian opponent, who has been boxing since 2012. “There’s not a lot of information on her, so my team and I are ready for anything. If I have to box, I’ll box. If I need to go after her, I’ll go after her. The exciting part of this camp is that we have to be ready for anything. We’re going to have to adapt and we know that.”

And while her comeback ideally leads to a 5th world title, the practical Warwick resident takes it one step at a time and is equally focused on being compensated fairly in the new women’s boxing economy.

“Of course, I would love to fight for a title,” acknowledges Clampitt. “Right now, we just take it fight by fight because of my age. I’m 47. It’s almost unheard of in male or female boxing. Boxing changed a lot over 30+ years, and I want to be part of something great and push myself. I’ve had so many people tell me ‘no’ during my career that I want to prove them wrong. While I don’t do it for the money, I deserve to be compensated adequately for what I’ve done. I’m still motivated, still healthy, and I’m going to keep going as long as I can.”

Tickets for “Summer Heat 2023” are priced at $46, $66, $140 and $165. Tickets are quickly selling out, so fans are encouraged to buy them at CESfights.com, Ticketmaster or at the Mohegan Sun box office. Weigh-in and final press conference are open to the public on Friday and will be held outside the Mohegan Sun Arena. Doors open at 4pm on Saturday, with the first amateur bout starting at 4:30pm and the pro card beginning at 7pm.

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