5'4½" junior welterweight Denise (Lutrick) Moraetes was born on May 3,
1967 in Stamford, Connecticut. An all-round athlete, she was a New York
all-state and northeast selection in soccer and ran the NYC marathon from 1992-96. She began
boxing in 1995 and faced some of the best in her weight
division as an amateur early in her career.
Denise defeated Kathy Collins to win her
division in the 1995 New York Golden Gloves, the first ever in which women
were allowed to compete.
On April 12, 1996 she lost the 132-pound title by a 5-0 score to
Melissa (Salamone) Del Valle
in a historic final that brought the Friday-night crowd at Madison Square
Garden to its feet. As the only returning female champion, Denise had
been favored to win this tournament, but Salamone had
returned to New York when her older brother Lou Del Valle, a 178-pound
Gloves champion himself, convinced her that she could win the title.
In 1997, Denise came back to win the coveted jewel-studded
New York Golden Gloves pendant in the 139-pound
division by defeating Melissa Johnson. (Salamone repeated as the 132-pound
In July 1997 in Augusta, Georgia, Denise won the 139-pound title at the
inaugural USA Boxing Women's National Championships with a 5-0 decision over Sherry
Huchber of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Denise successfully defended her US 139-pound National title in the
next USA Boxing Women's National Championships on May 31, 1998 in Anaheim,
In 1998 Denise was also the Georgia Golden Gloves Champion.
With an amateur record of 14-1, Denise made her pro debut on
September 17, 1998 at the Grand Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi,
scoring a second-round TKO of Sue Killeen of Warwick, New York,
who was also making her pro debut. This was an easy win for Moraetes over an opponent
with nowhere near her own level of skills and experience.
Her next scheduled fight was the other extreme ... a
scheduled matchup with the formidable
Lucia Rijker in Las
Vegas on November 20, 1998. This match was cancelled
when Lucia came down with pneumonia. Some
saw it as a "mission impossible" for Denise in just her second
pro outing ... but she was in a hurry after her strong career as
an amateur boxer!
Moraetes herself stated that her extensive amateur career made her ready for Rijker.
"The US Amateur program allowed me to sharpen my skills and
learn the sport from the ground up ... I feel that the experience
I gained in the amateurs will give me the edge against a tough martial arts
veteran who turned to boxing to prolong her career." (Rijker, of course,
had fought almost as many fights as a pro boxer as Moraetes
had in her entire career at that point.)
"This is the reason why I turned professional", Denise told
Augusta Chronicle columnist Rick Dorsey. "This is a win-win
situation for me. I win and I'm the champion. I lose and hopefully the
recognition I get will help with future fights."
Denise instead fought on December 3, 1998 at Casino Magic in
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi,
where a crowd of 2,400 saw her take a four-round unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's
Belinda Laracuente, who fell to 11-2-1.
On December 30, 1998 at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia,
Denise moved her pro record to 3-0 with a six-round
unanimous decision over Vicki Woods of Chattanooga,
Tennessee, who fell to 6-4-1.
On February 27, 1999 at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia,
Denise moved her pro record to 4-0 with a unanimous
six-round decision (60-50, 59-56, 58-57) over Gwen Smith of
Charlotte, North Carolina, who fell to 3-7 with the loss.
Moraetes countered most of the taller Smith's jabs with hard hooks to
the body and head and won the first three rounds convincingly, wobbling
Smith with an overhead left. Smith hung in (at times literally,
holding Moraetes behind the head) and they went toe-to-toe in the
final round to earn a standing ovation.
Against Sumya Anani on March 12, 1999 Denise took her first pro loss
On March 12, 1999 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City,
Denise lost an 8-round unanimous decision to
Sumya Anani (5'6", 140 lbs) of
Shawnee, Kansas by a 78-73 margin on all three scorecards.
Anani, who was coming off her defeat of Christy Martin and
was 12-0 at the time, quickly found the openings left by Moraetes' looping rights
and tagged her with solid counterpunching throughout the fight.
A left hook to the jaw decked Moraetes in
the fourth but she fought back fiercely to keep herself in it.
Denise rarely found a way to land on Anani without
taking straighter, heavier shots in return and was badly bruised
and swollen under her left eye by the end of the fight, which
dropped her pro record to 4-1. The bout was seen live on ESPN2's
Friday Night Fights.
On April 30, 1999 at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana,
Denise rebounded from this loss (138 lbs)
with an eight-round unanimous decision over Vicki Woods (138 lbs) of
Chattanooga, Tennessee, who fell to 9-6-1.
On June 11, 1999 again at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana,
she won a hard-fought unanimous eight-round decision
(79-73, 79-73, 78-74) over Glenda Watkins of Lima, Ohio who fell to 6-6.
On September 8, 1999 at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana,
Denise won a hard-fought six-round unanimous decision over IBA Lightweight
champion Jeanne Martinez of Slidell, Louisiana, who slipped to 9-4-1.
On December 5, 1999 in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Denise won a six-round
unanimous decision over Maureen Henry of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who
slipped to 2-1. A ringside correspondent told me "It was an awesome fight in which Denise Moraetes showed her stuff to a wild and enthusiastic crowd of
supporters. The crowd were up on their feet cheering and supporting
as Moraetes and Henry battled it out.
The fight was action packed every round.
Chopping rights, hooks, uppercuts, lots and lots of non-stop
action. Denise was quick and accurate. Henry was tough, and
she was strong, but she couldn't take anything away from Denise.
Although Henry protected herself well Denise found a home for
everything she intended to land.
Denise was quick on her feet and able to slip and move with
little effort. She did get caught a couple of times but, with
style and grace moved into her next series of combinations."
Maureen Henry was a late substitute on this card, on which
there had been hopes that Denise would finally get her
long-awaited bout with undefeated Lucia Rijker.
In January of 2000, IFBA
Junior Welterweight champion Hannah Fox was
offered a fight with Denise. Fox declined the fight saying that she
needed a "tune up" fight after an eight month layoff following winning the
title from Leah Mellinger, and retired from
competitive boxing that March.
On March 8, 2000 at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan,
Denise (140 lbs) won a clear six-round unanimous (59-55, 59-56, 58-56)
decision over Snodene Blakeney (140 lbs)
of Austin, Texas, who is now 9-4. A Women's Boxing Page
correspondent says "It was a boxing lesson, pure and simple ... but Snodene was never in any danger of a KO."
On April 7, 2000 at the Grand Victoria Casino in Rising Sun, Indiana,
Denise moved her pro record to 10-1 with a first-round KO of perennially
overmatched Alicia Sparks of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Collins and Moraetes pose together
On May 12, 2000 at Adam's Mark Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma,
Denise faced a stiff challenge in a ten-round battle with
Kathy Collins of Long Island, New
York for the IBA 140-lb (junior welterweight)
world title. Moraetes had defeated Collins when they met in the
1995 New York Golden Gloves competition, and this was a hard
fought tussle all the way. When the dust settled, Collins was
on the winning side of a 96-94, 94-96, 96-94 split decision
that moved her pro record to 13-1-3, while Moraetes slipped to
10-2. The bout was the main event at Tulsa's
annual Charity Fight Night gala.
Some controversy arose after this fight because the Oklahoma
Boxing Commission refused to use both of the judges who had been brought
by the IBA (paid by the promoter) and substituted two local judges at
The remaining IBA-provided judge scored the fight for Moraetes, and the
local judges scored it for Collins.
Denise graduated with Master's Degree in Community Service
Administration from Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y. in 1989. She taught
in the New York Public School system for three years before becoming a
Special Education teacher; she received her Master's Degree in Special
Education in 1992. She then became an Academic Advisor for husband Tom's
Augusta Boxing Club
and the Augusta/Richmond County Police Athletic League.
Other Denise Moraetes links
- Teenage boxer wins first legitimate bout
- Denise helps young boxer Laura Luther prepare for Golden Gloves Junior Olympic competition
[Augusta Chronicle, August 15, 1999]
- Women are new to sport
- Patty Cepeda-Russell, coached by Tom and Denise Moraetes,
- prepares for the 1999 Women's Golden Gloves Tournament
[Augusta Chronicle, August 13, 1999]
- Moraetes loses for first time
[Augusta Chronicle, March 13, 1999]
- Moraetes wins bout with Gwen Smith
[Augusta Chronicle, February 28, 1999]
- Moraetes ready for upcoming bout
with Gwen Smith, Sumya Anani
[Augusta Chronicle, February 27, 1999]
- Moraetes bout went well
- why Denise was looking to fight Lucia Rijker
[Augusta Chronicle, November 12, 1998]
To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to
the WBAN Records Member Site
Page last updated:
Friday November 06, 2015