Mills fashioned an incredible record while competing in an amazing 337 amateur bouts, winning 316 fights, losing only 21. He began his boxing career in 1952 by winning the Golden Gloves competition in Charleston, Hickory, Jacksonville, Fla., and Charlotte. Mills represented the Carolinas in the National Golden Gloves competition, advancing to the finals in his weight division. He also represented the Carolinas in the national AAU finals in Boston, Mass. During his outstanding amateur career, Mills beat the All-Service Champion in Washington D.C., topping the Marine champion, Tommy Lacero, in the Carolina Golden Gloves championships in Charlotte.