The Canadian prizefighter from Trinidad with the super-sweet nickname – it’s Candice Mitchell. . .
HOW CANDICE MITCHELL GOT HER GROOVE BACK
In 2015, Candice Mitchell left her comfy nine-to-five in Toronto Canada to pursue her passion: Muay Thai. The quest has been arduous and violent; the rewards have not been lucrative. Nevertheless, Candice “Candy Crush” Mitchell is happy. She is living out her dream.
Today, the Trinidadian prizefighter is a champion. She is the first woman to win the Muay Thai Ontario Championship and she holds multiple titles across the world. Candice Mitchell is a relentless woman. We caught up with Candice Mitchell to see why she left her comfort zone to put herself in harm’s way.
MTG: Where are you from?
CM: I’m originally from Trinidad And Tobago. I moved to Toronto when I was a little girl, so I’ve been in Canada for my whole adult life. Went to college, got a job, and decided to leave it all to move to Thailand.
MTG: What did you study in college?
CM: I studied IT.
MTG: When did you discover Muay Thai?
CM: I discovered Muay Thai by accident around 2012. I was looking for an activity to release the stress. I happened to walk by a kickboxing gym and that was it. I was hooked.
MTG: Were you very stressed before discovering that gym?
CM: Oh yes, I was stressed from work and also in my personal life. Muay Thai gave me an outlet to release some anger and stress. I was able to hit a bag, which was very therapeutic.
MTG: Why take it to the next level and fight?
CM: I know, right? After six months of training, one of my coaches approached me and told me I was pretty good. He arranged a fight for me and the rest is history. It was so exciting and fun. I loved it from the get go.
MTG: What made you give up everything and move to Thailand?
CM: You know, I was working my 9-5 and I wasn’t fulfilled. I was training at 6 a.m. before work, than at 7 p.m. after work and I was getting burnt out. I had a burning desire to pursue fighting and get better at it, and I knew that I had to move to Thailand in order for me to take my skills to the next level. So in 2015, I packed up all my stuff and moved to Thailand to train and fight full-time.
MTG: Why did you pick Phuket Top Team (PTT)?
CM: I was looking for a gym for months before I made my move. I liked Phuket Top Team because they offered other disciplines besides Muay Thai. At PTT, I can train Muay Thai, BJJ, or Dutch-style kickboxing. It was important for me to have access to different styles because I knew that I would eventually want to transition to different combat sport.
MTG: So you’re considering crossing over to a different combat sport?
CM: Yes, absolutely. There is no money in Muay Thai, so the next logical step in to go into kickboxing and MMA.
MTG: How much does a Muay Thai fighter make in Thailand?
CM: I don’t know about the guys, but for the girls, it’s not much. We might make $100 on the smaller shows and maybe $500-600 on the bigger ones. I’ve never made more than a grand fighting, that’s for sure.
MTG: Which sport are you going to cross over to?
CM: I’m going to start with kickboxing. I recently got myself a head coach. His name is Kirian Fitzgibbons from CSA Gym in California and he is amazing! He’s been helping me a lot and we are going to do big things together.
MTG: You’ve trained in Thailand at one of the best gyms in the world and now you’re with an American head coach. What make Kirian so special?
CM: Oh man! He is so smart and he knows everything. There are times when I call him to tell him, “hey, I’m fighting this girl” and he says, “oh yeah, I know her.” I’m like, how the hell does he know her? The difference between him and the Thais is that the Thais are so tough. They want you to move forward and never retreat – it’s go, go, go. With Kirian, we strategize and plan. He deconstructs my opponent and we make a game plan. He’s made a tremendous impact on my game.
MTG: How do it work with him being in California and you in Thailand?
CM: We’re always in contact. We’ll text before and after fights. He’ll text me to make sure I’m training and staying sharp.
MTG: Do you do any strength training?
CM: I never did until I went to CSA. Now I do crossfit to stay strong and in shape. I don’t go too heavy.
MTG: Besides the knees, elbows, and clinch, what do you find to be the major difference between kickboxing and Muay Thai?
CM: Ah man, there’s a big difference. The rules, the styles, the footwork. Punches are favored in kickboxing compared to Thai boxing. I had referees yell at me ’cause I was punching too much.
MTG: Any shoutouts?
CM: Yes! I want to shout out my sponsors CSA Gym, Phuket Top Team, TKMT, and Funk Roberts at FunkMMA. I also went to thank the Catching Wreck Podcast for having me.
MTG: What’s next for you, Candice?
CM: I just signed a deal with Lion Fight, so my goal for the next 12 months is to capture that title. We’ll see what the future holds after that.
- Pierre started his journey in martial arts after witnessing Bruce Lee on the silver screen. He began training Tae Kwon Do, earning a brown belt by his 18th birthday. He took up Muay Thai in 2000, training under Kru Nestor Marte in New York City. Pierre eventually moved to South Florida and trained at American Top Team under Christian Toleque and the late Howard Davis Jr. Pierre finally made the leap to Bangkok in 2007, having about a dozen fights. Today, Pierre Smith teaches Muay Thai and strength and conditioning out of his home gym. He also has a podcast called Catching Wreck which is available on Soundcloud, iTunes and Google Play. Pierre can be reached at www.catchingwreck.com.