Jasmine Hampton boxes her way to a #1 national ranking
When one talks to Jasmine Hampton, it is impossible to imagine her ever fighting anyone. With a bright, friendly smile, cute dimples, and a goofy, light-hearted demeanor, Hampton is not the kind of girl one would picture in a boxing ring, sporting big red gloves and delivering a left hook into her opponent’s stomach.
But Hampton has even higher aspirations than that. “I would love to go the Olympics and to win a gold medal,” she says.
Hampton trains to achieve this goal at a local gym known as A2 Fight Club, the same gym she has been training at since age 10 when she started boxing for the first time.
At first, Hampton says, she didn’t want to try the sport. When her cousin suggested that they start boxing, Hampton was afraid that she was “going to get hit and start crying.”
However, with some persuasion and encouragement from her mom, Hampton decided to give the sport a try. “I started doing really well and so I liked [boxing], and it just kept going from there,” she says.
Hampton usually trains about two and a half hours a day, five days a week. Her workouts consist of running, hitting pads, hitting a heavy bag, jumping rope and doing a lot of sit-ups.
While she doesn’t get nervous before matches at all anymore, Hampton says this was not always the case. She remembers feeling especially anxious before her first fight. “My coach kept telling me to stop jumping around,” she says.
Fortunately, Hampton has never been injured during a match. Her only boxing-related injury comes from the time she “fell and slipped on some ice while jogging during training.”
Hampton says that males at her gym usually fight about once a month, but that it is harder to find fights for girls. That, combined with Hampton’s phenomenal win loss record — 40-5 — has prevented her from competing frequently. “People [in Michigan] don’t want to fight me anymore,” she says. “I haven’t had a fight here in four years.”
While she hasn’t been able to fight locally very often, she has competed at the National level several times. In August 2011, she competed in the Junior Olympics for the first time and beat the defending champion to win it all. The next year, in August 2012, she went back as the returning champion, fighting in the same weight class as the previous year. In order to fight in this class, Hampton had to lose six pounds within a couple of weeks right before the event. “It was really hard because while I was training I only got to eat one meal and one snack per day,” she says. “But I wanted to go back as returning champion.”
Hampton’s efforts paid off, and she captured the repeat title that year, maintaining her spot at number one in the nation. With that victory under her belt, two more big competitions lie in Hampton’s sight: the World Boxing Championships, which occur next October, and the 2016 Olympics. Hampton also will compete in a state-level competition that can help her qualify for Worlds. This will be her first time competing in the adult class.
In 2016 it will be only the second time that women’s boxing is featured as a sport in the Olympic Games. It was included for the first time in 2012, when Hampton was too young to qualify.
Hampton is excited that the opportunity to compete will be available to her in 2016, but is not positive that she will take it. “I don’t know for sure if I will go because if I’m in college I might not want to leave the country,” she says. But that doesn’t mean she has any desire to give up the sport. “I would definitely love to box as a career,” she adds.
While a large part of Hampton’s love for boxing comes from the fact that she “like(s) to win,” that is not her only motivation for staying in the ring. “When I box all my problems just feel like they are going away,” she says.