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(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 Urbana-Champaign.

The 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: [EMAIL TL FOX]

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:

Video #1  New4Colorado
Video #2  New4Colorado
Washington Post - April 6, 2005
Hundreds mourn teacher/boxer 4/9/05
Sierra Vista Herald - Mother's thoughts - April 7
Husband Speaks of Zerlentes - April 11

Final Tribute from the
Boxing Community

Tribute: 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

Tribute: 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

Tribute: My heart and condolences go to the family of this lady. God Bless.

Tribute: 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

Tribute: Rest in Peace Becky...You are in my prayers. Kathleen

Tribute: Though I did not know personally, your will and courage was an inspiration to me.  May you rest in peace. Sheila

Tribute: 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

Tribute: I am so sorry.  My thoughts and prayers go with you always. Jayson

Tribute: 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

Tribute: 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. Len Lukshaitis

Tribute: 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. - Denmark

Tribute: 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 Dana Dudley

Tribute: 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

Tribute 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

Tribute: 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 boxing coach

Tribute: 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

Tribute: 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 lady's fight.
I hope this kind of accident never happens again,and that something can be learned from it.  Fred McDonald

Tribute: 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

Tribute: 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. Christie

Tribute 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 Stoltz

Comment 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.  Peter

Tribute:  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 Australia!
Carl Martens

Tribute:  Becky is not my family by blood. Like me, she is a fighter. 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, Sumya Anani -multi world boxing champion

Tribute: My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Becky!! Rita Figueroa, Pro Female Boxer

Tribute: 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 pro boxer Sharon Anyos (Anyos also is a trainer/manager)

Tribute: 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

Tribute: 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.  GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!
Karla Sweat-Mazone

TributeOur thoughts and prayers go out to the Zerlentes family in this time of need. Michael Korff

Tribute: I am sad for her family be strong like Becky was. Former boxer 21w 19L 13ko God loves you all. Ronnie Johnson

Tribute: 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

Tribute: We are very sorry for your loss...DEEPEST SYMPATHY - Patricia & Janis www.jandpphotos.com

TributeMay she fly with the angels. April Irving

 

 
 
 
Accomplishments - Zerlentes

Academic Credentials: BS in Actuarial Science, MS and PhD in Geography, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Field of research: regional science, a blend of economics and geography.

Teaching experience: FRCC/LC since fall, 1999. Subjects: World Regional Geography, Physical Geography-Landforms, European Geography, Human Ecology and Economics of Social Issues.

Associated Links - Zerlentes

Front Range Community College - Tribute page Link
Results of Triathlon  Link
B&A Half Marathon overall Results Link
B&A Trail Half Marathon -  March 3, 2002  Link
Zerlentes -Graduate College PHD Link
Theses and Dissertations - (1992-1997) Link

 
     
     
     
     

 

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