Jaime “Hurricane” Clampitt continues to chase glory at 45

Will Paul

There’s “life-changing” money on the table in women’s boxing these days, something that seemed farfetched not too long ago, and it’s a small part of the reason why 45-year-old Jaime “Hurricane” Clampitt continues to chase championship glory despite genuinely having nothing left to prove.

The Canadian-born Clampitt (22-5-2), who has made Rhode Island her home for more than two decades, was inducted in the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame in 2020, seven years after her first comeback and subsequent second retirement.

That kind of notoriety alone is usually what signals a fighter’s triumphant ride into the sunset, yet at 44 years old, Clampitt returned last summer for a second time, headlining CES Boxing’s historic outdoor event at Cranston Stadium.

Sounds crazy, right? Not in this era. We’re just a year removed from NFL great Tom Brady winning his record-setting seventh Super Bowl at the age of 43, so the idea of Clampitt, who co-owns On The Ropes Boxing and Fitness in Warwick and is arguably in the best shape of her life, winning her fifth world title in her mid-40s is not out of the real of possibility.

The “Hurricane” hopes to move one step closer this Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – just a stone’s throw from her home in Warwick – when she faces Concord, NH, veteran Kim Wabik (4-1-1) in the six-round main event of “Rhode Wars,” a new fight series for 2022 launched by Clampitt’s long-time promoter, CES Boxing president and CEO Jimmy Burchfield Sr.

There’s never been a better time for women to lace up the gloves in professional boxing, especially in Clampitt’s division. Amanda Serrano, the reigning WBC, WBO, and IBO world featherweight champion, earned $75,000 in her August 29 win over Yamileth Mercado on the undercard of the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley pay-per-view showcase.

On April 20, she moves up to 135 pounds to face undefeated WBA, WBC, IBF, and IBO lightweight world champion Katie Taylor at Madison Square Garden, and while no purse amounts have been verified, Paul, who is co-promoting the bout with Eddie Hearn, has stated both fighters will earn seven-figure paydays – a watershed moment for women’s boxing.

What started as a tweet from Serrano in April of 2021 clamoring to fight on one of Paul’s undercards has turned into a new era of promotion for women’s boxing, whose athletes have struggled for decades to earn the same respect – and compensation – as their male counterparts. With Paul, a YouTube star turned pro fighter and manager, promoting Serrano on multiple social media platforms, where he has more than 18 million followers on Instagram and more than 20 million on YouTube, Serrano has reached new levels of stardom. Anyone could be next.

The possibility of what Paul has described as “life-changing” money and the lure of fighting in her own backyard has been enough to draw Clampitt back into the ring at 45 as CES Boxing promotes Rhode Island’s first indoor boxing since November of 2019. Clampitt admits fighting so close to home has built a great sense of community in her neck of the woods and expects a strong showing from her loyal fans and supporters on Saturday.

In Wabik, Clampitt is facing a late bloomer who began her pro career at 32 and hasn’t stepped foot inside the ring since August of 2020. A licensed social worker for FamilyAid Boston, Wabik inherits the same opportunity as Clampitt knowing the market is yearning for the next big star in women’s boxing.

While it often seems like there’s a longer road between fighting on regional shows and competing for a world title in men’s boxing, the journey is much shorter for the women, where the supply is limited despite a number of championships to compete for. Now, finally, the playing field has leveled, and it’s led to a much-needed boom in women’s boxing, making anyone who steps inside the ring on any given day a potential star in the making.

Tickets for Saturday’s event are available online at CESFights.com. In addition to the Clampitt-Wabik main event, “Rhode Wars” features several other intriguing all-New England matchups, including a six-round co-main event showdown between undefeated Providence, RI, super welterweight Lamont Powell (5-0, 1 KO) and Mitch Louis-Charles (6-2-2, 3 KOs) of Quebec who now lives and trains in Boston. In the bantamweight division, MMA-fighter-turned-boxer Daniel Cormier (1-0) of East Providence, RI, faces Christian Andrade (1-0, 1 KO) of Fairhaven, MA, in a four-round bout.

Super lightweight Wilson Mascarenhas (4-1, 1 KO) of New Bedford, MA, battles hard-hitting Akeem Jackson (5-4, 5 KOs) of Oxon Hill, MD, in a six-round bout and heavyweight Tim Hatfield (2-0, 2 KOs) of Providence, a former college football player for Brown University, battles Kaleb Slaughter (1-3-1) of Cincinnati, OH, in a four-round bout. In a special middleweight showcase, Italian-born Nicola Quarneti (5-1-1) makes his United States debut in a four-round bout against Yakima, WA, veteran Charon Spain (3-18-2, 1 KO) in a four-round bout.