In 2018, boxing went through quite a roller coaster ride, which included the formal introduction of widespread streaming, the doors being closed on HBO boxing and questionable scorecards amongst assigned judges in main events.
Through all of that, something happened which wasn’t as relevant or available as it was in previous years and that was women being given an elevated platform to perform on the boxing stage.
Raquel “Pretty Beast” Miller is amongst a large group of talented women who have performed well when given the opportunity and are gearing towards a title shot in the future. After turning Pro in May 2016, Miller has established a record of (7-0) with three wins by the way of knockout.
Raquel Miller's time in the amateurs totaled over 70 fights. During that time, she saw success in the 2012 Women’s World Championship by earning a Silver Medal and winning a bronze at the USA Boxing National Championship in the U.S Olympic Trials that same year. She was also an alternate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
I now introduce you to Raquel “Pretty Beast” Miller.
Abe Gonzalez) Raquel, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Being born and raised in San Francisco, tell us a little bit about what that was like?
Raquel Miller) I grew up in a big house full of people. My mother was the type of person who would have gatherings at the house and invite the whole neighborhood. Some of these gatherings included watching Mike Tyson fights on TV. Although I have a total of four brothers and two sisters, we didn’t all grow up together. At the time I was growing up, people from San Francisco were either really wealthy or really poor. I moved to an area some may refer to as the hood when I was 11 and that’s where I started to fight a lot. I was a bit of a tomboy and with the “eat or be eaten” mentality that came along with living there, I felt that I needed to fight to not only defend myself but to protect my siblings and family.
AG) What was the first professional fight you saw either live or on tv that made you further pursue the sport of boxing?
RM) As I mentioned before, my mother would have these gatherings at the house for the Tyson fights (even though we would end up wasting our 50 dollars because the fight would be over in the first round) but there was one in particular that made me fall in love with boxing. That specific PPV had Christy Martin (below) on the undercard. (Note from AG: Coincidently, Martin was the first female boxer to be shown live on national TV in the U.S that night).
She was a badass, had the pink going and was doing her thing and was on primetime television. That gave me the burning sensation inside to be a fighter. I wrote it in my diary and stuck with it. I also wrote that I would become a world champion!
AG) After completing some college, you decided to go in another direction. What did you end up doing and how did it lead you to your current path of a professional boxer?
RM) After attending school for a little while, I decided to do something different which led to me working at a law firm. While I was working there, I thought about being an attorney while also thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. I started my non-profit organization and also started to look into a boutique. I was trying my hand in different things to figure out what I really wanted to do. Boxing was always in the back of my mind as something I wanted to do. The first time I went to the gym, I didn’t want to train but just spar as I felt I knew how to fight already. I was told sparring is a privilege and I decided to quit at that point. My friend Chauncey Jordan kept pushing me to go and I tried it again a few years later with more mental focus. This time however, I had a coach that was very inappropriate and told me women did not belong in boxing and that I should be a ring card girl. I quit again and left all of my stuff there. Some time passed and I went back again but with the mentality of training for the purpose of having a fight. I eventually had my first fight, fell in love with it and never looked back.
AG) Things are moving along with your boxing career and you end up having to make a life changing decision, which meant moving from your hometown. What led to that and what are your thoughts in regards to your current residence?
RM) About three years ago, my coach (Basheer Abdullah) moved to San Diego and I decided to make that move as well. I definitely miss home as San Diego doesn’t have the flavor of the bay but you can’t beat the weather and the chill environment. Living in San Diego also helps me completely focus on boxing.
AG) When you're not boxing, what do you do to stay busy?
RM) I train out of the Arena Gym with my coach but I also teach classes at the Boxing Club in East Village. It’s my way of giving back to the sport. I teach men and women how to believe in themselves and live a healthy lifestyle. I also have an athletic line that I am launching as well so I am trying to stay busy.
AG) You are signed to Lou Dibella’s promotion company, Dibella Entertainment. What encouraged you to sign with him?
RM) He has always supported women in boxing before it became the trendy and cool thing to do. He was up front and honest with me concerning my career and what he could do for me which is what I was looking for.
AG) What is something that most people won’t know about you that is a part of who you are?
RM) I have always wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals, maybe even more than people. My mom used to get me an animal for my birthday each year so at one point I had 6 dogs, 7 cats and even a parrot just to name a few. After I am done with boxing, I want to open up an animal sanctuary. Animals are very near and dear to my heart.
AG) You have a non-profit organization called “Ladies in Power”. Tell us about it.
RM) Ladiesinpower.org was founded by my sister (Taneshia Miller) and I in 2006. It is a mentorship program that helps young adults with the transition from teenage to adulthood. Some of the tools we teach are financial management, managing and establishing credit, self-confidence, mental health awareness and self-esteem building to name a few. The program is really there to help these kids navigate through their teen years and on to becoming an adult. I felt I needed to do this, as I didn’t have the outlets to teach me some of those things growing up. Our next event is currently scheduled for March in San Diego while the other one, is scheduled for April in San Francisco.
AG) Shifting the focus back on boxing, when and where is your next fight and is there anything special about this specific fight?
RM) My next fight is at the Viejas Casino in Alpine, California on the 31st of January. I have been informed that it will be a WBO Middleweight title eliminator. I have been very patient in regards to getting a title fight and while I would have preferred an actual title fight, I am just ready to stake my claim and have my voice heard! I’m not ducking anyone! All I am ducking are these haters and their negative vibes!
AG) Last but certainly not least, what message would you like to send out to your current and new fans that are reading this?
RM) Honestly, I just want to say thank you! Thank you for the support and being patient with my career. You don’t really hear that gratitude enough and I want to make sure that the people following me know that. I am a very humble and thankful fighter and I appreciate you following me on my journey to a world title. You can follow me on Facebook (Raquel Miller), Twitter (@MsPrettyBeast) and on Instagram (@ms.raquelmiller).
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