Win or lose, Jaime Clampitt had every intention of walking away from the sport of boxing following her showdown against Holly Holm in 2010.
“That was going to be it for me,” said Clampitt, who won four world titles in the first eight years of her professional career. “It was the culmination of everything I had been through in boxing.”
Had it ended differently, Clampitt might’ve stayed away for good. Instead of riding off into the sunset leaving everything she had in the ring against an opponent considered one of the best in the sport, Clampitt instead returned home to Rhode Island with an empty feeling following a surprising, abrupt ending to her International Boxing Association (IBA) world title bout.
Midway through the opening round, Clampitt and Holm collided in the center of the ring as Clampitt ducked a left cross from Holm, who inadvertently struck Clampitt with her right elbow. Clampitt dropped to one knee and then began writhing on the canvas in pain, suffering a neck injury that left her unable to continue. Holm was awarded with a technical knockout victory.
“I was devastated,” Clampitt said. “To have it end like that was disheartening.”
As the years passed by, Clampitt found herself preoccupied with an active lifestyle outside of the ring, both as a mother – she now has a 4-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son – and a personal trainer, working with clients from all walks of life at the Striking Beauties female gym in North Attleboro, Mass.
Though her workload increased, her passion to fight never waned. Clampitt (21-5-1, 7 KOs) never really knew when it’d be the right time to return, but she appears to have picked the perfect night as she prepares for her real farewell fight Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 on the undercard of the Peter Manfredo Jr.-Rich Gingras showdown at Twin River Casino.
While it’s hard to upstage “The Pride Of Providence,” Clampitt’s fight against Dominga Olivo (8-8-1) of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Pride & Power” card figures to be as highly-anticipated as Manfredo Jr.’s return to Twin River. Clampitt, a Warwick, R.I., resident raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, was a fixture in the Ocean State throughout her career.
In her prime, she captured the International Women’s Boxing Federation world title in two separate weight classes and became one of the few females to headline a major fight card in New England, battling fellow Rhode Island Missy Fiorentino in a memorable, back-and-forth showdown seven years ago at the R.I. Convention Center. Prior to that, Clampitt achieved nationwide notoriety for her epic bout against Jane Couch, which was voted the 2004 Ring Magazine Women’s Fight of the Year. Clampitt avenged the loss three years later by unanimous decision, capturing the vacant WIBF light welterweight world title for the second time.
Clampitt has always been an ambassador for women’s boxing, and her return at the age of 37 is even more remarkable now considering everything she’s accomplished since her first retirement in 2008. Balancing motherhood and boxing isn’t easy – “You have no idea!” she said – but being back in the ring provides a welcomed escape from the everyday responsibilities of raising two children.
“That’s always been my sanctuary,” Clampitt said. “I started at such a young age, so it’s all I’ve known. I love everything about the sport. Nothing beats the feeling of stepping through the ropes, but I love it all, whether it’s the training, being in the gym – as soon as I got back into the swing of things, I felt right at home.”
Friday night will feel like old times as Clampitt, Manfredo Jr. and Cranston, R.I., slugger Arthur Saribekian fight on the same card, reuniting a trio of popular, regional fighters who graced Twin River and other venues for years in the early- to mid-2000s.
A decisive win over Oliva, a tough competitor who has faced some of the best in the sport through the years, including Puerto Rican southpaw Amanda Serrano, may stir up rumblings of a second return fight for Clampitt, but the real world – particularly motherhood – might have other plans for “The Hurricane” beyond Friday night.
“I like to fight,” Clampitt said, “but this is definitely it for me.”
Clampitt’s promise seems genuine. More than anything else, this is about going out on her terms – the fairytale ending she never had the chance to achieve three years ago in New Mexico. How this script unfolds is up to her.
“A lot of people ask me if this is the first step in a long comeback, but, no, it’s one and done for me,” Clampitt said. “When that final bell rings, it’ll really be the final bell for me. I just want to end on a positive note, not only for me but everyone who has been there with me throughout my career, from [CES president] Jimmy Burchfield all the way on down. This means a lot to me.”
Ticket for the event are priced at $46, $61, $101 and $161 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling 401-724-2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.ticketmaster.com, or at Players Club at Twin River. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
In addition to the 10-round super middleweight main event between Manfredo Jr. (39-7, 20 KOs) and Gingras (13-3-1, 8 KOs), “Pride & Power” also features a special six-round heavyweight attraction with Saribekian (23-4-1, 18 KOs) returning to the ring for the first time in more than a decade to face Hyannis, Mass., product Jesse Barboza (6-1-1, 4 KOs).
Also on the undercard, Cranston, R.I., welterweight Nick DeLomba (2-0) will put his undefeated record on the line against Carlos Hernandez (3-2-1, 2 KOs) of Bridgeport, Conn., in a six-round bout and Providence middleweight KJ Harrison-Lombardi (2-0-1) will return to Twin River in a four-round bout against Mike Rodriguez of Springfield, Mass., who will be making his professional debut. Harrison-Lombardi and Rodriguez faced one another in the amateurs with Rodriguez winning a close decision. Providence light middleweight Publio Pena (1-0, 1 KO) will face Antonio Marrero (0-1) of Hartford, Conn., in a four-round bout. All fights and fighters are subject to change.