A “Pretty Girl” Boxes Out the Competition
Mercedes Vázquez-Simmons won the 2014 Person of the Year award from the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame.
Mercedes reigned as Miss Puerto Rico of Rochester in the late 1980s; nearly three decades later she earned recognition for her work as the first Latina boxing promoter in New York State as well as in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. She also has been honored by the Ring 8 Hall of Fame, Women in Boxing, World Boxing Council (WBC) and the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame and has developed a safety and skills program to help boxers inside and outside the ring.
Mercedes gleaned her own leadership style from her mother, Belen Colón, a longtime activist for bilingual education and social justice. Mercedes went on to receive an MBA and earned the title of Hispanic Business Person of the Year in Rochester in 2016. Outside the ring, Mercedes is a community activist with a special interest in Latinx Voting rights.
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