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New Boxer on Scene: Looking to Make her Pro Debut
January 7, 2013

(JAN 7) Susan Reno, born Susan Merlucci in Summit, New Jersey, grew up in the small town of Hackettstown, New Jersey. She dabbled in athletics like fencing and basketball but leaned more towards art, music and theater. At the age of 18, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, to study art at Pratt institute. Due to some financial obstacles as many young people find themselves in living on their own, she did not continue in school, but remained in New York City.

Susan spent many years of tending bar and trying her hand in acting, music, and costume design but nothing truly held her attention. A friend suggested one day that they try a "kickboxing" class and Susan jumped at it. For the next few years, she learned Muay Thai from Kru Phil Nurse. After a while she asked if she could train with the fighters "just to see if she could keep up." Susan more than held her own and found herself competing for the first time in her life, in a boxing ring. She lost her first fight but was not discouraged. She worked harder and came back stronger to win her next four bouts.

Susan with Mike Reno

Although Susan was on a winning streak, her boyfriend and amateur boxer, Mike Reno noticed her victories came by boxing and that she rarely threw a kick. Mike, as well as Susan's brother who was also an amateur boxer convinced her to try boxing.

In 2006, Susan had her first amateur boxing match and won by stoppage and followed up with another victory on a club show in New Jersey. Next came the NYC Metro Championship with another win. In 2007 Susan won the New York Daily News Golden Gloves with a third round stoppage at Madison Square Garden.

After the Golden Gloves, Susan was invited to represent NY Metro in the National Championships. This experience was all new territory and very different from the little club show scene. With Mike Reno, acting as coach, they set out for Colorado Springs.

Susan's first opponent drawn in Colorado was the reigning champion, Cheryl Houlihan. We knew Cheryl had won the past four years in a row but Susan's attitude was "we have to face her at some point, why not now?" All of this was a new experience. the scoring system, thin Colorado air, Cheryl's hand speed, but Susan took it in stride. First round, Cheryl's speed caught Susan off guard and got her 2 standing 8 counts. the second round, Susan found her rhythm and by the third round, Susan gave Cheryl 2 standing 8 counts, both from body shots. susan gained on cheryl's lead but the fight went to decision, Susan losing by 3 points.

Back in New York, Susan took a step up in weight. Always ready to take on a challenge, there was an opportunity for Susan to fight a police officer in the annual Battle of the Badges. Susan had been helping friend and firefighter Mike Reno coach the FD Boxing Team.

The cops were looking to match their 125 lb female boxer. Susan stepped up as honorary firefighter and agreed to the match. Two weight classes heavier than her normal 110, the two women put on the fight of the night with Susan pulling out the victory.

After this fight, Susan needed a break. After years of hip pain, she required surgery to repair a tear in the hip joint. during the lay off from boxing, she married Mike Reno and continued to help him coach the FD team.

In September 2011, NYC played host to the World Police and Fire Games. This is an Olympic style competition for police and firemen all over the world to come together and compete with one another. Susan and Mike assisted Bobby McGuire (WPFG director of Boxing). Susan helped corner, wrap hands and play host to all the visiting boxers. This experience gave her the itch to get back in the ring.

The following month, was the annual Battle of the badges. The PD wanted to showcase the Atlas Cops and Kids Olympic Prospect, Christina Cruz. They needed someone to step up and box Christina at the Garden. Susan wanted the challenge. She had not fought in three years and agreed to the fight. With only three weeks of training, Susan wasted no time getting back into the rhythm of fight training. She put up a gallant effort and gave a great fight but Christina was at the top of her game and Susan was just getting back into hers and lost by decision.

Susan didn't like losing and used it as motivation to continue training and get better. Since that loss, she bested 2 girls at 119. To prove to herself she still "had it," she took a match against a recent two-time Golden Glove Champ and came out the victor.

What would Susan like to do now?

Her next challenge is the professional world of boxing. She is looking to make her pro debut at this time. Susan is 5'1", fights between the weights of 108-112, Orthodox. Her all around accumulative amateur boxing record is 10-2, and Muay Thai amateur record is 4-1.

If a promoter, matchmaker is interested in putting Susan on their card, you can contact Mike Reno, at 917-816-6952, or remain him at mail reno1291@yahoo.com.

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