Stevie ‘Midge’ Pitt: A Shattered Dream
By Will Lott
Stevie “Midge” Pitt has been training in combat sports since the age of ten and this year, at 28 had decided to turn professional in boxing only to be denied a licence as a result of a lazy eye.
“I went to a club called Aero-Kick in Birmingham and just started training. There was no looking to fight or anything when I first started. I’d done loads of different sports but not stuck with them and this just intrigued me.
“From the get-go, I loved it and within a year I was competing.”
A thirteen year career brought with it gold medals and world titles.
“I went with team England over to Germany in 2015 and fought in the minor 55kg category. I got to the final, fought a German fighter and beat her convincingly over three rounds in the ICO World Championships.
“I also won a world title on a week’s notice in Scotland after the original opponent pulled out. We flew over at 5am on the same day of the fight, weighed in as soon as we arrived, went straight to the hotel but couldn’t sleep. Five, two minute rounds and again I won each one convincingly and came away with a gold medal with one week notice.”
With dreams achieved and opportunities scarce with opponents pulling out, Stevie decided to turn her hand to the ‘sweet science.
“You can’t avoid anyone in amateur boxing. You fight who’s there. No one knew me when I started boxing. No one really mixes with the same people between boxing and kickboxing. My first ever fight was against Carly Skelly in Liverpool. She’d been stopping everyone but I lost on a split decision to her but in a really close fight. I then beat her in a rematch on our home show.
“I went into the Development Championships and won that before entering the Elites and reaching the final of that. By then Carly had gone up a weight and the trilogy never happened when she decided to turn pro. It would have been great to go pro and have the trilogy fight for a belt.”
Of course a change in discipline requires an ability to adapt for the athlete but this was something Stevie didn’t struggle with.
“During my first few spars, people would ask if I ever felt the need to kick but I never did. I’m fortunate in that my old kickboxing coach was big on boxing so I was a decent boxer anyway. I was more of a boxer than a kicker. The only difference I found was my distancing. In kickboxing you’re further back to throw your front kicks. I spent time with the coach on shutting down that range.”
Fifteen amateur fights later, having suffered just five defeats, Stevie made the decision to pursue a professional licence.
“I’m 28 now so I can’t be an amateur forever. Covid put it in motion. The Elites were due to be in the April but were obviously postponed. I carried on training anyway just in case, sparring with the likes of Rachel Ball and it was after that my coach suggested looking down the pro route whilst we’re young enough to try to take titles. I got as much sparring as I could with the likes of Rachel and also Lisa Whiteside but it was only recently we found out it was not going to be a possibility.”
Stevie was born with a slightly lazy right eye which the British Boxing Board of Control have deemed enough of a problem to prevent her from being allowed a pro licence.
“I went to Specsavers for my eye test where I was told it should be fine. I was told it didn’t meet the Board’s standards and to go and see a specialist. I was told the specialist needed to fill out a form and then to get it sent back to them. The specialist told me the same thing as Specsavers. I was told my vision is only worse from a distance but obviously in a boxing ring they’re right in front of me.
“I sent the form off and was told it didn’t meet their standards and it can’t be taken any further.”
Laser eye surgery was unfortunately not an option.
“I have a squint, which is to do with the muscle at the back of the eye rather than the eye itself. There are no operations known to repair it. I’d have to get surgery approved by the Board. They’ve seen my amateur licence, the people I’ve fought. I’ve won an English title. They’ve seen that. Normally they’d watch me train and spar but because of my amateur background I was told they had no problem with allowing me it in the interview. My blood test and brain scan were fine.”
With a professional licence seemingly out of reach, Stevie may now look towards a career as an amateur coach.
“I could go back to the amateurs but I’ve already missed the Olympics and the Commonwealth is next year so they’ve already got a squad selected for that. I could go back but there’s not enough at stake. I’d be fighting for the sake of fighting. I think I’d probably go down the route of coaching an amateur squad. I’d see how far I could get my fighters and maybe take them to some championships. My current coach sat down with me and has talked me through the avenues. He has told me I can take over the squad and it will be my squad.”
With 18 years of combat experience and knowledge to pass on, an amateur squad is likely to gain a lot and earn great success from Stevie as a coach.