By T.R. Reid
DENVER, April 5 — At age 34, Becky Zerlentes was accessible to stop boxing, and she told her drillmaster that the Golden Gloves bender Saturday night would be her final match. It was a account that accepted tragically accurate.
In the third annular of a accustomed abecedarian fight, the cartography abecedary from Fort Collins, Colo., took a appropriate cantankerous to the ancillary of the arch and hit the canvas. Sunday afternoon, afterwards anytime regaining consciousness, she was arresting dead. The medical examiner in Denver said she was dead by blunt-force agony to the head.
Zerlentes is the aboriginal woman to die in a accustomed abecedarian battle match, said Julie Goldsticker of USA Boxing, the blank alignment for U.S. abecedarian and Olympic boxing. Goldsticker said there are no annal of women dying in able battle matches to date. There has been a appear changeable afterlife in “Toughman” boxing, an adulterine anatomy of the action with beneath protections for fighters.
Zerlentes’s afterlife comes as battle has been accepting acceptance amid adolescent women. The big champ at this year’s Oscars commemoration in Hollywood was the Clint Eastwood blur “Million Dollar Baby,” in which best-actress champ Hilary S plays a boxer who is agape benumbed and ends up bedridden in a hospital.
Goldsticker said that USA Battle has accustomed women’s abecedarian matches back 1993, and that about 2,200 changeable fighters are registered to compete. In the able ranks, Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Laila Ali, has become one of the best-known prizefighters of either gender, with a 20-0 almanac in the super-middleweight division.
A alternation of deaths and injuries in battle matches prompted annealed new rules in the 1980s and ’90s from governments and antic associations. According to admiral at USA Boxing, the accompaniment Golden Gloves championship bender Saturday night that Zerlentes was aggressive in met all the accustomed assurance requirements.
Zerlentes and her opponent, Heather Schmitz, 32, both wore careful headgear that bedlam their foreheads and both abandon of their heads. They wore careful anatomy padding. They had both been accustomed concrete exams afore the bout, and there were three doctors in the arena, the National Western circuitous in arctic Denver.
Zerlentes, a abecedary and drillmaster at Front Range Community Academy in Fort Collins, was a triathlete and an able adversary in assorted aggressive arts, accompaniment battle admiral said. She took up battle in her mid-twenties, and three years ago she won a western bounded Golden Gloves championship.
According to Goldsticker of USA Boxing, Zerlentes told her training assembly at Fort Collins Adamantine Knocks gym that she was accessible to accord up battle and focus on added sports. She told her coach, Jeanne DePriest, that she would adhere up the gloves afterwards Saturday night’s accompaniment abecedarian championship bout.
Those present at the Zerlentes-Schmitz bender said that referees chock-full the action for a moment in the additional annular to ysis on bleeding from Zerlentes’s nose. The action continued, and aboriginal in the third annular Schmitz unleashed a adamantine appropriate that reportedly bent Zerlentes on the larboard ancillary of her arch at about eye level. Zerlentes collapsed.
A doctor bound entered the arena and alleged for oxygen. A few account later, Goldsticker said, paramedics accustomed and took the benumbed boxer to the hospital, area she died the aing day. Denver badge backer Teresa Garcia said a basic ysis appear the account of afterlife as subdural hematoma, about centralized bleeding acquired by a adamantine blow.
“I feel horrible,” Schmitz, the added boxer, said in an account with Denver’s CBS 4 News. “I didn’t appetite to aching her.”
The acceptance body, USA Boxing, put out advice arguing that abecedarian battle is safer, in agreement of abrasion totals, than added acquaintance sports such as football and wrestling. In a advertisement of accident ante per participant, the alignment said that horse racing, scuba diving, mountaineering and academy football all produced added deaths per actor than abecedarian boxing.
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