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Veronica Simmons

5'9˝" super middleweight "Vicious" Veronica Simmons was born on March 30, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. She began boxing in  1995 and has trained in New York City at Kingsway Gym and at Gleason's.

Veronica had a spectacular career as an amateur, winning every competition she entered and compiling a perfect 15-0 record, with 11 wins coming by (often quick) knockout. She won three USA Boxing National championships and four New York Golden Gloves titles, the latter in three different weight classes ... 165-lb, 178-lb and heavyweight.

On April 10, 1997, fighting out of Gleason's Gym, Veronica took the New York Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight (178-lb) Championship by defeating Diana Diaz of Pacheo Boxing Club.

She went on to win the national 178-lb title at the first USA Boxing Women's National Amateur Championships held in Augusta, Georgia on July 16-19, 1997. Her opponents in this ground-breaking event went on to win professional boxing, titles. Trina Ortegon, who Veronica defeated by a 4-1 score in the semifinals, became the IFBA Super Middleweight champion in February 2000. Suzette Taylor,who Veronica shut out 5-0 in the finals, became the IBA Super Middleweight champion in September 2000.

Simmons continued to compete as an amateur, however, setting records as she went.

On April 2, 1998, she returned to the finals of the New York Golden Gloves, this time competing in the Heavyweight division. Veronica stole the show in what boxing commentator and publicist Tom Gerbasi described as "a brutal 62-second demolition" of Iris Reyes.

In May 1998, she returned to national competition at the USA Boxing-Everlast National Championships in Anaheim, California. She won her quarterfinal bout when Beth Kuch of Newport Beach, California retired at 0:46 of the first round. Her semifinal and final opponents lasted a little longer ... she stopped Crystal Pinager of Columbus, Ohio at 1:56 in the first round in the semifinal, and Adriana Smith of San Bernardino, California at 1:56 of the first round of the final.

On April 9, 1999 she again won the 178-lb division of the New York Golden Gloves, this time by a three-round decision over Melissa Ortega.

She won the 165-lb gold medal at the 1999 USA Boxing/Everlast Women's National Senior Championships in Scranton, Pennsylvania by dropping Diana Matty of Plantation, Florida with the first clean punch of the fight, then putting her down again to end it after just 52 seconds. This win made Simmons the first ever three-time women's USA Boxing national champion.

In May 1999, Veronica was equally impressive on the international scene as she competed in the 75-kg division of the Feenix Cup competition held in Turku, Finland. She stopped Tanya Fowler of Canada in the first round, and won the division's gold medal by defeating Anna Laurell of Sweden, also by first-round stoppage. Veronica was clear about what this Feenix Cup win meant to her ... "Right now this is the Olympics for the women. So this gold medal is my Olympic gold."

Simmons turned professional and made her debut on May 19, 2000 at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She won this bout in the same style as most of her amateur bouts ... by a quick KO. This time her victim was Evelyn Holley of Pennsauken, New Jersey, who succumbed at 0:48 of the first round.

Veronica's major problem as a pro boxer was that nobody wanted to fight her because of her reputation in the amateurs. Unlike in amateur boxing, where a round of open tournaments guaranteed her some opponents on a regular basis, pro boxers who feel they have too much to lose by taking her on could simply avoid her.  Without a promoter who's willing to pay opponents big money to risk a loss at her hands, Veronica found it tough to get contracts, and it was almost a year before she fought professionally again.

On April 13, 2001 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan, Veronica weighed in at 165 lbs and won by TKO at 1:15 in the first round over previously unbeaten Kronk gym product Kathleen Brauer (5'8", 164 lbs) of Sterling Heights, Michigan. The super middleweight bout had been scheduled for four rounds. but referee Ron Cunningham ended it after Simmons knocked Brauer down twice and forced a mandatory eight-count. As described by Inside Women's Boxing's Andre Courtemanche, Simmons "smashed Kat Brauer with a series of merciless right hands that dropped her three times and spoiled her unbeaten record in two minutes time. Simmons ... seemed strong enough to beat a lot of men her weight. She simply overpowered a very strong opponent and made it look easy." Brauer, who also had national-level amateur experience, taking the 156-lb silver medal at the 1999 US National Golden Gloves, fell to 3-1 as a pro.

WBAN named her its "Best Kept Secret" Boxer of 2001.

On December 26, 2002 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, in Georgetown, Guyana, she won a six-round majority (58-56,59-56,57-57) decision over Gwendolyn O'Neil of Guyana in a hard-fought light-heavyweight semi-main event. Simmons handled O'Neil's aggressive, brawling style with jabs and accurate combinations while O'Neil (who had been disqualified in her last appearance in this annual Boxing Day event) was warned several times for pushing and holding at close quarters. Simmons progressed to 3-0-0 (2 KO) while O'Neil fell to 4-3 (2 KO). O'Neil told local reporters "That girl did not beat me, any time we fight again, I will kill her.”  The Guyana Chronicle reporter disagreed, saying that: "O’Neil learned that her robust/wrestling style was not going to prevail once she met a boxer who was prepared to stand up to her as the American Simmons did. The world-rated O’Neil was warned on several occasions for pushing and holding while the crafty Simmons made her look out of sorts with a skillful display, jabbing and hitting with precision."

Simmons, who is trained by former WBA Junior Welterweight title challenger Lennox Blackmore of Guyana, declared that she felt great beating O'Neil, especially as she had not fought for more than a year. Simmons said that at no time was she scared of O’Neil and her bullying tactics, and felt she had hurt O'Neil in both the second and third rounds of the fight.

On October 30, 2003 at Coconut Creek Casino in Coconut Creek, Florida, Veronica had been scheduled to fight Yvonne Reis of Florida in a six round super middleweight bout, but canceled out with a few days to go because she could not get off work as a corrections officer to make the fight.

If she could have stayed more active in the pro ring, Veronica might have been the ultimate test for pro super middleweights or light heavyweights, including Laila Ali.

Veronica Simmons was an all-city and all-state basketball star in high school, and played four years of collegiate hoops at St. John’s University while working for her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Arts. One of her ambitions was to play for the WNBA. Asked if she's better at boxing or basketball, Veronica states "I'm very, very good at both."  In 2002 and 2004, Veronica played professional women's football as a linebacker with the IWFL New York Sharks"I love the team," says Simmons, "it's been a great learning experience. I would have played earlier if the opportunity was there. When I first heard about it, I went right out and tried out."  Veronica won the league's award for most sacks in 2004.

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Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015


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