The best punch trackers on the market
14th October 2023
By: Ryan Gurewitz
Mike Stegall Talks Becoming a Full-Time Boxer, Relationship with Rick Ramos, and a Fresh Start
A few months ago, I spoke to Mike Stegall (7-1-3) about the trials and tribulations of balancing his boxing dream with being a business owner and making ends meet. Since then, Mike has decided to take a crucial step towards his ambitions and has now dedicated his full time and effort to the sport he loves. Mike will return to the ring on October 14th, where he will take on Juan Carlos Guerra Jr. (4-1) at the Donald Stephens Center in Rosemont, Illinois, where he will take on the first challenge in what he described as a “new career.”
Shortly after his eye-catching display on the undercard of rising superstar Callum Walsh, Mike realized his boxing dreams weren’t so distant. However, to achieve what he wanted in the sport, Mike understood that he would have to take a significant leap of faith and dedicate himself fully to boxing. That’s where Rick Ramos came in, coach to IBO, WBC, and WBA World Welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill. I asked Mike what led to that relationship and how he ended up with the multiple-time RingTV coach of the year.
“I started following Rick on Instagram, and shortly after… I decided to leave my current coach because I felt like I needed something more if I wanted to pursue boxing as a career.”
Building a relationship with a world-renowned coach takes more than just exchanging Instagram messages. Shortly after Mike was offered a fight, he reached back out to Rick and asked if he could go out to Chicago to prepare for this fight.
“He told me he wasn’t gonna just let me come to the gym; everyone says they’re gonna come to the gym and doesn’t show up.”
Two weeks later, Mike got a short yet life-altering text from Rick: “Sparring on Sunday, 8 AM.” Without hesitating, Mike rushed to Chicago from Missouri, showed up and sparred at the Rick Ramos Boxing Gym. After the first session, the next eight weeks saw Mike traveling between Missouri and Chicago to train. These eight weeks would eventually lead to a decision solidifying his commitment to becoming a full-time athlete.
“After that (the first spar), I showed up to Chicago for the next eight weeks and finally made the decision for me and my wife to pack up and move.”
Boxing can often be considered a lonely sport. If you’re not a champion or a hot prospect, the long hours in the gym trying to reach the top can take a severe toll. While Mike credits his former coach and old-school ways for making him the fighter he is today, he acknowledged that he would need to change it up to see progress. With Rick’s team, Mike spoke on how different the training environment is.
“Rick and Jessica have both been very welcoming to me and my wife..they say boxing is a lonely sport, but at Rick’s gym, it’s really a team sport. I have teammates I train with every day, we’re all on the same schedule, it’s really structured… we’re always together, everyone has each other’s back, it’s awesome.”
With a proper training camp, Mike looks ahead to his next fight against Juan Carlos Guerra Jr., who is 4-1 and made his professional debut less than two years ago. Mike holds years of ring experience over Juan, yet he won’t let that distract him from the challenge he faces across from him come fight night. While this will be Mike’s 12th professional fight, he views this new chapter in his life as a fresh start to his boxing journey.
“My mindset going into it is this is my first professional bout, even though I’ve had bouts in the past and I have a record, my mindset is different, my trainings different, this is the first time I’ve actually felt like a professional… It’s like turning the page, new team, new surroundings, different mindset.”
Now, at his natural weight class of 154 pounds, Mike knows this is his opportunity to put his name out there. Mike Stegall impressed many in his last fight and mentioned his regrets about not being 100%. While you’ll see a loss on his record from his previous fight, Mike knows that he wasn’t the best version of himself; now in shape and feeling like a professional, he knows now is the best time to make a name for himself.
“It’s my first fight here in Chicago. I definitely want to build a fanbase around here so I can call Chicago my home, I want to outclass him and of course I’m looking for a knockout win… the goal is to outclass him”
The move to Chicago meant more to Mike than just boxing. It meant leaving everything he knew behind and going from a small town in Missouri to a completely unfamiliar environment. It meant leaving his business behind and relying on his wife, who is a nurse, to be the “breadwinner” of the house.
“I told her if I’m going to go all in… I can’t be juggling a construction job, a business and other things, and we agreed that she’d be the breadwinner until everything came to fruition with boxing”
Very few things can be as intimidating as moving away from what you’re comfortable with and taking a massive leap of faith. However, Mike has made the most of his new life.
“It’s definitely been a lot different; it was a smaller town where everyone knew each other… It’s definitely different; it’s nice being close to things… adjusting to the city life was tough, but now my wife is here; it’s been amazing.”
Mike Stegall has taken the long road to get to where he is now. This isn’t the glamorous journey that young boxers dream about, but for Mike, this has been his life. From being the underdog, juggling jobs to make ends meet while having aspirations in boxing, he’s done it all the hard way. However, everything is finally turning toward his ultimate goal: to climb the boxing ladder and make a name for himself. Jumping in the deep end, uprooting his life in Missouri and moving to Chicago, Mike now finds himself in an opportunity to focus on his passion with a championship-level team. On October 14th, at the Donald Stephens Center in Rosemont, Illinois, Mike Stegall will take his most significant step in what he describes as his new career as a full-time boxer.