GRAND RAPIDS, Mich -- Cheri Szendre has committed to a life around and inside of the boxing ring. The Walker native and Kenowa Hills graduate fell in love with the sport while on a date with her late husband. However, after he unexpectedly passed away in 2014, she doubled down.
"I just decided life was too short to sit outside of the ring," Szendre stated.
Szendre became a boxing official years ago and has been volunteering her time around the sport.
"I was a dedicated official and went all over the state of Michigan," she said, "it isn't paid at all but you meet wonderful individuals from boxers to coaches to other officials."
In 2016, Szendre was elevated to a level three official which is the highest ranking possible. One year later in 2017, hse was named the Official of the Year by the Michigan Local Boxing Committee. Recently, she accepted the position as Michigan Golden Gloves tournament director, becoming the first female in that position.
"The Golden Gloves to me is just a wonderful organization that really promotes the sport of boxing," she smiled, "I'm honored to be the first female director.
Szendre's involvement around the sport could help more women get involved.
"I think it will increase the female participation, whether that be from boxers participating or officials participating," she added.
Over the past few years, Szendre has continued to prove herself to the Golden Gloves which is why National Director, David Packer chose her for this important role.
"She's progressed," Packer said, "she's become what they refer to as an AIBA official which is an international official and over the years, she's really learned a lot and she's been on the ball with everything so we figured she'd be the one for the job."
The future is bright for women to be around the sport of boxing, especially in West Michigan with Szendre's involvement.
"When i started here on the west side of the state in the Golden Gloves, I was the only female official and in the last three years, I've recruited five female officials, so we now have more of a contingency."
Saturday, March 16th will be the start of the West Michigan Golden Gloves tournament which begins at 7:00 pm at the Deltaplex. Boxers must be registered through the USA Boxing website but to attend, simply buy tickets online through the Deltaplex.