Raquel Miller Poised To Make a Statement
By Felipe Leon
For Raquel Miller, the undefeated middleweight from San Francisco, California, nothing happens without hard work and determination. The 33-year-old didn’t step into a local boxing gym until the age of 24 after some earlier false starts. Within a year she was competing in the US Nationals and in 2012 as part of Team USA she was an alternate for the 2012 London Olympics.
Now the 5-0, 3KOs, fighter recently signed with DiBella Entertainment helmed by former HBO executive Lou DiBella and is poised to make a statement this year in female boxing.
“I’ve been in negotiations with Lou DiBella for a couple of months now,” Miller answered when asked by David Avila in an exclusive interview with the 2-Minute Round, the all-female boxing podcast. “We discussed it and figured out what was the best situation for us. I had another offer but I felt the DiBella offer was a better fit for myself and the things I wanted to do with my career.”
Miller didn’t take the decision lightly. She knew she would be tied to which ever promoter she chose for a number of years but at the end she felt DiBella was the best fit. “I feel like Lou DiBella has always been supportive of women’s boxing. I think his knowledge and his creation of “Boxing After Dark” and all the things he has done in boxing has shown he has been a game changer for the sport of boxing and especially for women. I thought it was a good situation for me.”
“I am really, really excited,” she continued. “Excited because knowing that your hard work has brought me to a higher level and now I will be able to get to another level. Have TV time and be able to fight for titles, be able to have bigger fights with a promoter behind me. I am really excited, really thankful for the opportunity. Excited for all the moves women are making as a whole in the sport of boxing.”
Despite beginning in boxing late by traditional standards, Miller feels the experience she gained in national and international competition in nearly 70 amateur fights will translate to what she does in her professional career.
“It was really a good experience, there was a lot of competition,” Miller explained. “The girls stay around in the amateur for years so there is really high competition. There were a lot of girls that were really experienced. From there I made Team USA and I went to fight in Russia, Poland, Turkey, all these countries and it was amazing. Different styles of fighting but every woman fights hard. No matter what country or where they are from, you don’t take anybody lightly. It was a great opportunity, a lot of different styles of fighting.”
Always looking towards the future and her impending pro career, Miller made mental notes of who she might have to face in the future in the paid ranks as she fought around the world as an amateur. “Even in the United States, you are thinking to yourself, ‘if I go pro, these are the same girls.’ There isn’t that many women in boxing so you were looking at everybody else because there was a good chance you would meet up again if you go pro.”
The 5’8” fighter was scheduled to face in her first fight in New York City and under the DiBella banner gatekeeper Szilvia Szabados. Szabados of Hungary has faced everybody in the heavier weight classes like Nikki Adler, Kelly Morgan, Alicia Napoleon, Mikaela Lauren, Claressa Shields and Layla McCarter to name a few. Szabados would have been a good measuring stick to see where Miller finds herself but unfortunately the fight didn’t happen.
“Initially I was going to face Szilvia Szabados but unfortunately I got really, really sick with the flu,” Miller explained. “My fever ending up being 105 degrees and I couldn’t break my fever. I honestly didn’t think I had the flu. A lot of times when I am training for a fight and it is getting down to the wire I get a little bit of cold as my immune system is a little compromised. I thought I had a cold so I kept taking vitamin C but I thought I was ok. I kept working out three times a day but I wouldn’t get any better. I went to the hospital but it was two days before I was to take off to New York. It took three weeks for me to get better.”
Miller describes the cancellation of the fight as a ‘heartbreaker” but now is poised towards an even bigger 2018 and looking forward to the first fight of the year. At this point no word on who she will be facing but Miller states she is ready for anything her team puts in front of her.
“I don’t really like to speak on certain people, fans already know who I have my eyes on,” Miller stated confidently. “Now having a promoter behind, those fights can happen. It’s in the works, it’s in the making. It is only a matter of time and when it happens, it’s going to go down.”
“In the amateurs I fought at 152 and then I went up to 155 pounds for the Olympic weight class,” Miller said regarding her plans for the future. “I feel good at 160 but I am pretty sure I can drop down to 154 if I wanted to. I can also make 168 so I think initially I am going to go for the 160 title that is in my plan. Possibly go down to the 154 mark and definitely handle my business at 168 so wherever the position is right for me and where I think the fight is the best fight for me that is where we are going to go.”
The big name in those weight classes and heading towards that 160 pound mark is one Claressa Shields. Shields and Miller have some history since they were together in Team USA for the 2012 Olympics so they know each other well at least when it comes inside the ring. “I am looking forward to it and it is going to happen. I am excited it is going down and I am going to do my thing.”
Another name Miller has been associated with is super middleweight Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo. There were talks for a fight between them in the past, so much so an online feud developed between the two with it coming to a head in a face to face verbal sparring session in Las Vegas, Nevada, caught on tape.
“For the record, they say otherwise but it doesn’t matter, the short of it is I am excited for that fight,” Miller said sternly. “If it can happen this year that would be really awesome. My people will definitely reach out. They reached out for my last fight in San Francisco when I faced Lisa Garland, we reached out to the Cornejo fight but they said no at that time. They reached out to me for a fight in Los Angeles before for like $1200 and that was something I definitely wasn’t interested in. There has been a lot of back and forth but I am excited she signed to Golden Boy, I am with Lou DiBella, I am hoping they can bridge that gap and we can make that fight happen. I want to fight her and I am looking forward to it in the near future.”
Along with boxing, Raquel runs a non-profit organization, Ladies in Power, designed to empower young ladies. “I have my third annual event, Fight like a Girl, on April 14th in San Francisco. If you are in the area, bring out your girls. It is a day of empowering and encouraging little girls to be whichever they choose to be, whether its boxing, or surfing, or whatever they choose to do, they can do it.”
To listen to the interview in its entirety, please visit www.BlogTalkRadio.com/2MinRound