FightCamp Trainer Spotlight: Jess Evans
I have been in many intense situations in my life, but I never thought I would be face-to-face in a boxing ring with a girl breathing down my neck, trying to take me down. I remember the first time I stepped into the ring: It was new. It was exciting. It was what I was meant to do.
My Midwest Roots
Ever since I was four years old, I’ve played sports. Swimming, basketball, running, tennis, gymnastics - you name it, I did it. Having been raised in the Midwest, sports were how I spent my time, but I never considered combat sports. I always liked the quotation, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” from Muhammad Ali and when I realized fighting could be a lifestyle, it was game over.
All that changed after high school when I found myself in a toxic relationship. I was 19 years old and in a deep hole of depression. I couldn’t understand how someone I cared about would want to hurt me. As that relationship began to deteriorate, I decided to take up boxing. It was empowering to hit a bag, and I found a true passion for learning how to protect myself. It wasn’t long after starting training that I decided to compete competitively.
Jumping Into The Ring
In 2012, I started boxing training with Melvin Wesley and Bigg Ronn out of Pound 4 Pound in Kansas City. I would train every night and hit the same combo over and over again on the punching bag. I would get beat up in sparring, yet keep going back for more. I was hungry to improve and FAST! About six months into my boxing training, my coaches approached me about competing in the Ringside World’s Tournament. I immediately said yes and ended up taking second place in my weight division. Soon after the tournament, I transitioned to Muay Thai. I wanted to learn how to become a complete weapon and how to push myself to new limits. I trained at HD MMA and Low Kick Camp for the rest of 2012 and won two kickboxing matches. In January 2013, I moved to Australia to study abroad, and this is where my fight journey truly transitioned.
The “land down under” became one of the highlights of my fighting career. I immediately joined Bulldog Gym in Castle Hill, under Stu and Steve McKinnon. They became my family and took me under their wing. I was training 5-6 times a week, and within the first three months I was ready to take my first Muay Thai fight. I won by unanimous decision. From there I went on to fight in six more matches, winning three New South Wales title belts in the 52 kg division. One of these wins was by KO via spinning backfist.
Finding My Passion
My coach then came to me and asked if I would like to teach some of the general Muay Thai and kids classes at the gym. I said yes and fell in love with teaching. I took a class of six people and grew it to over 50. I also taught a couple of self defense classes with my coach and taught an all ladies seminar where we raised money for the A21, an anti-human trafficking organization. It was after this seminar that I realized the passion I had for what I was doing, and how the pain from years past had allowed me to reach my purpose: To help people, especially women, discover their true strength and potential. After living in Australia for four years and having the opportunity to fight in seven different matches, I said goodbye and moved to Los Angeles.
Los Angeles brought more adventures and opportunities than I ever thought possible. One day I decided to try out a boxing class at Title Boxing Club in Orange County. The company was familiar to me as it had originated in my hometown, Kansas City. Before I left the gym, I was offered a job. I ended up working for Title on the side and began to feel more settled in Los Angeles. I was teaching again and fighting! Soon after, I began seeking out other fight gyms in the area. That is when I found Classic Fight Team, which became my new home, and through them, I found Raw Talent Boxing. My fighting world had finally started to expand once again.
My Next Chapter
Fast forward to the present day. At the start of 2021, I had a friend tell me about a company that was looking for a new trainer. It would be full-time and involve teaching boxing and kickboxing online. The past nine years of my life had been in production, working as a coordinator and associate producer, writing scripts, working with talent, running around on sets, and working 12-hour days. Fitness was just a side hustle and a passion of mine, but this new job was going to allow me to combine two of my greatest career experiences, production and boxing/kickboxing. So I applied. After a very exhilarating, detailed audition and onboarding process, I landed the job. I found FightCamp and you! So here I am. This is the biggest adventure of my life thus far, and I am so excited to be on it!
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The Author: Jess Evans started boxing in 2011. In 2012 she switched to Muay Thai, moved to Australia, and joined Bulldog Gym. Jess won 3 state belts in her 52kg weight division. She’s had nine amateur Muay Thai fights (7-2), 3 amateur boxing fights (2-1), and became a FightCamp Trainer in 2021. She is also USA Boxing Coach certified.