The CBZ Newswire

An Interview with former IWBF World Lightweight Champ, Elizabeth Mueller

by on Nov.08, 2014, under Boxing News

By John “Ice” Scully

Elizabeth Mueller (photo courtesy of www.boxrec.com)

Elizabeth Mueller (photo courtesy of www.boxrec.com)

WATERFORD,¬†Connecticut lightweight Elizabeth Mueller was at one time in the late 1990′s considered by many in the know to be a serious contender for the 2000 United States Olympic Cross Country team.

Mueller won the New England high school cross country championships four times and she was also the national cross country champion in 1991. She ran near-Olympic qualifying times (2:05) in the half mile in high school while capturing 11 Class, Open and New England cross country and indoor and outdoor track titles at Waterford High school in Waterford, Connecticut.

At Central Connecticut State University, as a sophomore, she was undefeated in six races and set three course records,while winning the Mid- Continent Conference cross country championship.

However, after nagging injuries pushed her to take a break from competitive running, she found boxing and quickly took to the sport, eventually capturing national titles at 132 pounds in 1999 at both the Everlast Women’s nationals and the National Golden Gloves.

Turning professional in January of 2000 with Bill Kane as her trainer and Maureen Macy as her manager, Liz ended up with a final record of 8-2 as a professional with a stellar victory over British boxing star Jane Couch and two others over multiple world champion Jaime “The Hurricane” Clampitt of Rhode Island by way of Canada among her triumphs.

In just under two years of professional boxing she compiled a final record of 8-2 (2 knockouts) and retired as the International Woman’s Boxing Federation lightweight world champion.

ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY: Liz, in a nutshell, how did you get started boxing??

ELIZABETH MUELLER: To be completely honest, boxing was my rebound sport. I had just recently broken up with my primary sport, running. Due to circumstances beyond my control. While at Central Connecticut State University running Cross Country I experienced significant injuries which forced me into a pseudo retirement. When I got better I found boxing. I believed boxing would get me back into shape to run. I don’t think I ever imagined it would take me on a whole new path

I was literally just looking to get back into shape so I could get back into running. I knew someone who knew someone who owned a gym. That was Andy Macy. I ended up in this agreement with Andy where I would be the gym conditioning coach. Which meant that I would teach the boxers how to run and they would teach me how to box.

At the time, I was VERY adamant, that I did not desire to get hit or even be in a boxing ring. Andy agreed and we continued this arrangement. I would improve conditioning and they would improve my ability to throw punches. Days turned into months. Eventually, and after much encouragement, I agreed to spar Tim, who, at the time was a 12 years old amateur boxing champion. Now, naturally, as a 25 year old, I was thinking to myself ‘I’m going to have to take it easy because I don’t want to hurt this kid.’

Much to my surprise, when we started to spar, I was completely outmatched. In fact, I got beat up. I got beat up by a 12 year old boy. This was not okay. I was NOT okay with knowing that I had been “served” by a 12 year old boy. So I vowed that I would a least get to a point where I could hold my own with a 12 year old person. Eventually, I did. And from that point on I was hooked.

Iceman John Scully: When you were very young in the game, who did you idolize in the sport?

Elizabeth Mueller: I have always idolized Lucia Rijker as she was, for me, the pinnacle of female fighting. As for men, I admired Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran.

Iceman John Scully: Who is your favorite fighter of all time and why?

Elizabeth Mueller: Marvin Hagler. I admired his perseverance and his inability to quit.

Iceman John Scully: What is your favorite moment from your boxing career?

Elizabeth Mueller: By far, my favorite moment of my career was my title fight. To this day, I have never watched this fight because I want to believe it was flawless. However, I know this is not true. In my mind, it is the pinnacle of my career because, I know… more specifically, I felt I was ready. I was ready to win. I knew prior to the final bell, that I was ready to fight. I was calm, relaxed and ready to react to what ever was thrown at me. I remember watching myself fight, not first person, but rather watching from above… anticipating every move and counter move. I don’t remember getting hit or fatigue… everything just flowed.

I was very fortunate as I had excellent trainers and managers. I was fortunate that I connected with Andy and due to his sons involvement, he had a general sense of the boxing layout and politics of it all. Also, due to this connection, I had connections to coaches who really cared and invested in me. Earl Walsh, Bill Kane and you, John Scully. Truly exceptional people who believed in me and knew the sport.

Iceman John Scully: Who was your favorite sparring partner and why?

Elizabeth Mueller: My favorite sparring partner (other than Tim Macy) was a young boxer named Jesus.

I met him through you. He was one of the young men I sparred with at the San Juan Center in Hartford. I so appreciated him as he was fast, skilled and proficient at fighting. I saw myself improve leaps and bounds due to this connection.

Iceman John Scully: What is or was your absolute favorite part of being a boxer?

Elizabeth Mueller: My favorite part of boxing was being in the most physical shape that I could be in to handle anything. I love what boxing did for me. It allowed me the space to recognize the athlete I was and had become. It was a way of proving to myself that I was an athlete and that I was good.

Iceman John Scully: Okay. Last question. The question I’ve been waiting to ask for a long time. On December 7, 2001 you won the IWBF world lightweight title at Foxwoods Casino with a unanimous decision over Jamie “The Hurricane” Clampitt. It was a very impressive showing and it stands to reason that some doors were going to open for you right afterwards yet in what was a shock to me you inexplicably retired just a day or two later. I’ve never even asked you about it until now but I’ve obviously always been curious why you chose to retire at that time?

Elizabeth Mueller: Tough question. I realize it was rather unexpected to retire after winning a world title. It was a very hard decision to make. Having said that, it was a decision I made prior to the result of that fight. Although I knew that winning a title would absolutely open doors for me and allow me to improve as a fighter, I had a lot trouble seeing where it was all going. On a very pure level, I relished the idea of improving and challenging myself. Setting all the politics and hoopla aside, there is something to be said about training and competing at that level which is unmatched by anything else. And I do mean anything. However, where was I going? Where would another fight lead me? I wasn’t able to come up with an answer. I realize 27 years of age was still very young but at the time I felt old. As much as I wish I could say I loved boxing, I began to discover, I truly loved more what boxing did for me. Boxing allowed me to prove something to myself. I wish I could describe this more clearly but I can’t. I can tell you, it is something I draw on to this day. When I’ve had a horrible day at work and just want to quit, I can’t. That’s not what fighters do.

However, I do believe the greatest fight, which is ongoing, is understanding that there are times in life we have to move on because we don’t always get what we want but we sometimes do get what we need.

 

NOTE FROM JOHN SCULLY: To interject, I have always wanted to find a place to tell two quick stories about Elizabeth that I think really illustrate her unique (in regards to the average fighter out there) mentality when it comes to her approach to the sport of boxing.

 To walk away from the sport literally a couple days after winning a world championship is pretty much unheard of in this era or any other. But to give you a little insight into what type of person and competitor we are dealing with here I can give you these two examples of her very interesting approach.

Liz won a convincing and impressive decision over female star Jane Couch on the undercard of the August 19, 2000 HBO televised Prince Naseem Hamed-Augie Sanchez card at Foxwoods and shortly after her bout ended I saw her heading out of the casino and I just assumed she was putting her bag in the car and would be right back. When I stopped to talk to her for a second she let me know that she was heading home. I assumed she’d want to stay for the main event but she literally seemed to have no interest in it at all.

Another time out in Tulsa, Oklahoma for her May 11, 2002 title fight with Sumaya Anani, our team was in the back dressing area waiting to head out for her fight when out of nowhere a small group of guys walks over to us. I knew two of the men personally and considered the other two as “boxing acquaintances” of mine. So they all sit down at the long lunch room table with myself, Liz and Bill Kane and begin a conversation that lasted about ten or fifteen minutes. I was feeling it all, it was an honor for me to experience an impromptu sit down with men of this caliber. The conversation was at times extremely funny, especially when two of the men in particular would interact with each other directly. Really funny stuff.

After they headed back out into the audience I kind of nodded to Liz, waiting for her to agree at how cool it was to be graced with the presence of such men. But as she kind of just shrugged at me with an “I guess so” look on her face it dawned on me that she had very little idea that she had just spent ten minutes or more at a table casually interacting on the spur of the moment with the boxing royalty quartet of Marvis and Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Ernie Shavers and the energetic and dynamic Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor.

To her it seemed as if they were just four funny guys who stopped by for a visit on their way back into the main room.

I’ve always loved that about her.

 

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