HAWAIIAN GARDENS, Calif.-In the main event for Roy Englebrecht’s Fight Night in front of a sold out crowd at the Hawaiian Gardens Casino on Saturday night, an impressive Raquel “Pretty Beast” Miller (9-0, 4 KOs) stopped Erin “Irish” Toughill (7-5-1) in the seventh round to win the vacant NABF middleweight title.
The scheduled eight round bout topped a mixed boxing and MMA five-bout fight card.
Miller, an amateur standout, is one of the most talented up and coming fighters on the scene and was coming off a win over Ashleigh Curry this past February while Toughill, a 19 year veteran in boxing and MMA, lost a controversial unanimous decision in her last fight to Maricela Cornejo earlier this year.
The fight against Cornejo was Toughill’s first in a boxing ring after a 13-year hiatus to pursue a MMA career.
Coming into the ring with a 50-person entourage, the confident Miller, 34, of San Francisco but training out of San Diego, CA, didn’t waste any time as the first punch she threw, a short right hand, shook Toughill, 41, and dropped her to a knee. The experienced veteran grabbed on to Miller forcing both to tumble down to the ground. Referee Zachary Young did the right thing as he gave Toughill an eight-count as soon as she got to her feet.
“I got a little excited, that wasn’t even my strongest punch at the time,” Miller said minutes after the fight in an exclusive interview. “I just threw it and it connected. I thought it was flash knockdown. I got a little bit too anxious and tried to land it a couple of more times in the later rounds, she adjusted, so I had to switch it up and start throwing the hook at the same time.”
The faster Miller had no issue in establishing her advantage in speed as she landed straight punch combos to the face of her opponent. Despite Toughill being the slightly taller of the two it was Miller who controlled the distance as she neutralized Toughill’s jab with quick footwork and head movement.
Toughill woke up in the fourth round and looked to make it a brawl. Miller had no problem staying in the pocket and going punch for punch but it was Toughill’s raw aggression with wide looping punches as well as a couple of rights that gave her the round and the next.
“I thought it was fun,” Miller answered when asked about toe-to-toe action. “My coach got mad at me, he told me not to do that. That was one of my tougher opponents, I wanted to go in there and I want to fight sometimes. I want to know I can take a punch. It is just a part of boxing, I was thankful for it because adversity builds character. If all of my fights are a sail through, then I don’t learn anything, I don’t adjust, so I like it.”
In the sixth Miller got back to controlling the distance. She began to use her legs more and stopped being a stationary target. Toughill went back to pawing with the jab as she hesitated to commit to punches since Miller kept making her miss. Miller felt comfortable enough to do so with her hands down as she looked to counter and catch Toughill as she came in.
While backed up against a neutral corner mid way through the seventh Miller caught Toughill with a hard left hook to the head. Toughill went down but beat the count fairly quickly. Despite her beating the count the third man in the ring had seen enough and stopped the fight while Toughill protested and looked to her corner for help.
“I think she was done,” she said of the stoppage. “I wasn’t surprised, I thought she was done. I think she put a hell of fight. I think it hurt her, I think some of the body work hurt her too. I felt it was a set up type of thing, it wasn’t just one punch.”
Official time was 1:01 of the seventh.
“I am hopefully going for a world title next,” she said before she proceeded to call out whom she wants next. “Maricela Cornejo, what is happening? You said I was scared of you, I am right here. Let’s go. I’m out here, you are looking for me, I am looking for you.”