Becky Zerlentes

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Becky Zerlentes

On April 3, 2005, 34-year-old Front Range Community College geography professor Becky Zerlentes died from injuries sustained during a Golden Gloves competition the previous day in Denver. She was the first woman to die in a sanctioned bout, and the 12th boxer to die in a Colorado ring. She had been struck by opponent Heather Schmitz and, despite wearing protective headgear, fell unconscious during the amateur bout at the National Western Complex in Denver.

Doctors later concluded that Zerlentes, an avid athlete and environmentalist, was susceptible to concussive swelling. She had been a former synchronized swimmer in Illinois, and taught swimming to children around Fort Collins, CO. She had earned a black belt in Goshin Jitsu and brown belts in other forms of martial arts.

Zerlentes had stopped boxing in 2002, shortly after winning a regional Golden Gloves title. She resumed boxing, to record an amateur record of 6-4, before her fatal bout with Schmitz.