(APR 6, 2005) Amateur boxer Becky Zerlentes, 34, 6-4, of Fort
Collins, died Sunday, April 3, 2005, after she was KO'd in the third round
and never regained consciousness. Zerlentes fought
Heather Schmitz, 32, in this tragic bout.
The fight took place at the 2005 Colorado State Boxing Senior Female
Championships, held at the Denver Coliseum, in Denver, Colorado.
Zerlentes is the first female boxer in the United States and possibly in
the world to die in the ring. Zerlentes told her coach before this
fight, that this was going to be her last fight. Zerlentes was going to stop
boxing because of her age.
The doctor ponders "What did I miss?"
Zerlentes was a professor of geography and economics at Front Range
Community College's Larimer County campus. Zerlentes earned her
master's and PhD in geography at the University of Illinois at
Denver County coroner's office said on April 4, 2005, that the preliminary
cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. WBAN would like
to get photos of Becky to add to this tribute page---if you have photos to
share, email them to:
On Becky's homepage she wrote the following:
"My current research interests include regional development and spatial and
dynamic modeling. I'm particularly interested in the maquiladora sector in
Mexico and the effects of the NAFTA on plant locations and abatement
decision-making. My hobbies include martial arts and boxing, swimming, and
hiking. I'm also a massage practioner in Okazaki Restorative Massage. While
an undergrad, I became interested in synchronized swimming and joined the
Illini Synchronized Swim Team. During this time I joined Goshin Jitsu, a
martial art that focuses on self-defense, becoming a sensei, or instructor,
some years later. My martial arts journey also brought me to Illini Jujitsu
and Midwest Jujitsu, a two clubs founded in the principles of Okazaki's Dan
Zan Ryu Jujitsu and taught by a cast of wonderful senseis. More recently, I
had the great fortune to train with two of the best boxing coaches at the
Champaign County Youth Athletic Club."
To donate - In lieu of flowers,
contributions can be made to the charity of your choice or to the Becky
Zerlentes Scholarship Fund at Front Range Community College. Checks can be
made out to FRCC and sent to 3645 W. 112th Ave., Westminster, CO 80031.
Source of information for final tribute:
Post - April 6, 2005
mourn teacher/boxer 4/9/05
Vista Herald - Mother's thoughts - April 7
Speaks of Zerlentes - April 11
Final Tribute from the
I just want to say that I am really sorry about what happened to her, but
everyone needs to remeber that she is in a good place and will always be
watching over everyone that she loved and cared about. Veronica Arias
Bless Becky and may she rest in peace and god bless her family. I am also a
pro boxer I am 37 years young, but i am in excellent shape and i will cont.
to box. Ii have a fight on 12/16/05 in Cleveland, Ohio, and I will win
this fight in Becky's name. This one is for you Becky even thou i didn't
know you. god bless. Elecia Mega Battle
My heart and condolences go to the family of this lady. God Bless.
What else should I say? I believe you accomplished your dream partly, but I
hope you continue that dream in heaven. Love always.. Becky's Fan
Rest in Peace Becky...You are in my prayers. Kathleen
Though I did not know personally, your will and courage was an inspiration
to me. May you rest in peace. Sheila
As a part of of the women's boxing family I would like to send my sympathy
to the family. Women in Support Together. Wanda Bruce - Matchmaker
I am so sorry. My thoughts and prayers go with you always.
Becky was the kindest sweetest person you would ever wanted to meet. I
believe if there were more people like her in this crazy world we live in it
would be a better place. She will be missed by her fellow martial artists
and by everyone who knew her. May God bless her and her family and her many
many friends that she left behind. Juan
Unimaginable tragedy. A skilled martial artist dies in an amateur bout with
all possible safeguards and precautions. What I read was that it was not
even an unusually hard punch. Sad day for all boxing.
I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of
Becky Zerlentes. I have followed women's boxing over a long period, admiring
the athletes for their determination and courage to participate in this
demanding and tough sport. It is such a tragedy, that Becky Zerlentes has
paid the ultimate price for her courage. May she rest in peace, and her
memory live in her loved ones. I hope family and friends do not find it cold
hearted of me, I would also like to send my sympathy and thoughts to Heather
Schmitz. It is difficult to imagine the trauma and feeling of guilt she is
going through, caused by this devastating accident in the ring. Torben L.
This news deeply saddens me...I would like to express my deepest condolences
to Becky's family..I pray that God will help guide you thru this difficult
time and provide peace to your family ...God Bless
This is a loss for all of us, even those who did not know her. My hope is
that once we know why she died, we can prevent this from happening again.
But I think we must all understand that boxing by definition means you will
take blows to the head and any existing health problems could be worsened.
We don't know if Becky had any history of trauma to her head or prior
injury. I also think that trainers should be more aware of the health of
their fighters, often times they fear being too "soft" on female boxers. My
deepest condolences to Becky's family and friends, the boxing community is
with you in this time of need. Amarandi
I want to send my condolences to Becky's family. As a female boxer i
understand the struggle Becky went through and i am sure she was a strong
person. God bless your family. Savage
To Becky's family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. It is a shame that
Becky's time on this earth was so short. God has other plans for her. She
must have done her job here on earth. For a boxer the ring would be an
honourable place to die. So if this was her time she would have been proud
that she died the way she did. We are all proud of her and hope that her
death will make boxing even more safe and save the lives of others. I was
shocked to hear that an amateur female boxer died in the ring. I truly
believe that amateur boxing is extremely safe. I hope Becky's death betters
the sport of boxing NOT make people believe that it is a dangerous sport
that should be banned. I'm sure Becky would want to help the sport.
My sincerest condolences to the Zerlentes Family. If I can help in any way
make things easier please feel free to e-mail me. Margaret Canty (Sidoroff),
Retired multi-world boxing champion, extensive amateur boxer, and currently
To Becky's family and friends, Although she is gone she will always be in
your hearts as well as in the boxing communities thoughts and prayers. She
was doing what she loved when she left you. She will always be a champion in
my eyes. Bonnie Mann, pro boxer
I am sorry for such a tragic accident to happen this young lady. I follow up
lady's boxing . Maybe gloves with with more padding should be used when
I hope this kind of accident never happens again,and that something can be
learned from it. Fred McDonald
To Becky's family, I am deeply sorry for this tragic event. I never expected
this in an amateur bout, but one thing is for sure. She gave her best in
every fight she got into. She never quit like other do. Becky was a great
talented boxer, and I wished that she would become a pro. But it didn't seem
to happen. So once again I'm sorry for what happened out there. Pedro
Being an experienced amateur boxer myself, I know all the hardships and time
that Becky spent to train, I hope that she will rest in peace. I extend my
sympathies to all her family and friends.
I am so sadden for what's happened. May God Crown Becky With the ultimate
Championship Belt of Life. May he strengthen her family in this time of
sorrow. My prayers are with you. Dale
sent on the Tribute form: This death should serve as
a clear example of how dangerous boxing is and how foolish you all are for
promoting it. Some will rationalize this event and say boxing is no more
dangerous than "Rugby". Or driving in a car is dangerous so what is the
difference? You are engaging in a brutal blood sport where the intention is
to knock your opponent into oblivion. WBAN features a section with KO's
showing fighters with their heads snapped back and eyes rolled back in their
head. It's a free country and people should be able to do what they want.
But society shouldn't have to pay for your stupid irresponsible behavior.
We heard about it here in Australia and are deeply sorry for all those
involved. Condolences to the Zerlentes family from all boxing fans in
Becky is not my family by blood. Like me, she is a
Through that alone, I think we share a sisterhood. Because of boxing, Becky
is my sister.
It's so hard to understand why this happened. Then a thought comes to mind:
it is not our place to know.
I believe in God. I believe in life after this life. I believe in living
this life to the fullest, and from what I've read about Becky's go-getter
attitude, she believed this too.
When someone who is so young and seems to have their whole life ahead of
them, it is so unbelievably hard to lose them to death's grip. We all know
that we will die someday, but it just seems like her life was cut short.
But we can try to look at it in another way. God felt that Becky had
fulfilled her mission in this life. And that is something to celebrate. We
can celebrate Becky's enthusiasm and joy, her genuineness and her courage.
By knowing her and loving her, it is what you gained from that experience
that you can carry in your heart for the rest of your life. I know
these words are just words, but I'm writing them from the bottom of my
heart. I hope Becky's family and friends can find a way, with the healing
ointment of time, to find peace through this most difficult time.
I put the Zerlentes family on my prayer list. All my love,
-multi world boxing champion
My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Becky!! Rita Figueroa,
Pro Female Boxer
All Boxers Male and Female from Australia would like to send their Heart
felt Condolences to Becky's Family at this sad time. Les Anyos, father of
Sharon Anyos (Anyos also is a trainer/manager)
My condolences to the family. I took up boxing as an amateur just four
years ago at age 52. I love the friendships i have made in the gym. I love
what i have done for myself. I wouldnt trade it for anything. Although it
happened too young, I wish all of us could die doing something we love
passionately. I know the hurt of the loss is tremendous. I pray for all of
the family and surviving friends. Marty Wiora
God knows I didn't know Becky but because i'm a female boxer in my heart
I did. May GOD KEEP every one in perfect peace in order to deal with the
lost. I send my DDEEPPEESTTT love and my heart goes out 100%. I will pray
for the family and friends as well as Becky's Spirit to rein on us everyday.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Zerlentes family in this time of
need. Michael Korff
I am sad for her family be strong like Becky was. Former boxer 21w 19L
13ko God loves you all. Ronnie Johnson
I would like to offer my deepest sincere condolences. I have always had
a soft spot for amateur fighters, especially the women of the sport. When I
got the news it was heartbreaking. She has passed on, but she has done more
with her life than most ever will. For that I have a deep respect. Her
passion and accomplishments is more than admirable, it's inspiring. Her
passing has left marks in the hearts of friends. I really envy her friends
to have known her as a person. For they, and her family, are blessed.
Richard A. Wright
We are very sorry for your loss...DEEPEST SYMPATHY - Patricia & Janis
May she fly with the angels. April