Boxer Makes Martial Arts Debut in Honolulu

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- After 12 years of boxing, Mia 'The Knockout' St. John is hanging up her gloves. But she's not leaving the ring just yet.

On Saturday night, right here in Honolulu, St. John will make her Mixed Martial Arts combat debut.

At the age of forty, Mia St. John isn't ready to walk away from combat sports. In fact, she's ready to take it to a new extreme.

"I think the switch is pretty obvious because boxing is kind of taking a back seat to MMA," said St. John.

Before becoming a boxer, Mia competed in Tae Kwon Do for 23 years. However, now that MMA is getting more exposure than boxing, the switch was natural. But it hasn't been easy.

"For me it was tougher, because I would forget, my trainer would be screaming 'knees, knees elbows' and I'd be 'what, you can't do that,' and then I was like 'oh yeah you can.'

Mixed Martial Arts combines many forms of combat into one. And learning new styles of fighting has challenged St. John, but that's what she thrives on.

"The ground fighting is so interesting and it requires so much skill, and I found that really challenging, but I love challenges."

From Tae Kwon Do, to boxing, and even posing for the November 1999 issue of Playboy magazine.

"I'm not trying to prove anything, other than it's just a new challenge and so far I've done everything in my life that I've ever wanted to do, so I thought why not!"

Mia's nickname, 'The Knockout', came after her debut boxing match, when she knocked out her opponent in 54 seconds.  On Saturday, she'll look for similar results in her MMA debut.

Mia makes her debut Saturday night in the Blaisdell Arena.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with title matches starting at 7:30 p.m.

Local band Natural Vibrations will also be performing live.