Vincent’s Never Too Late to Win
by Roger Zotti
New London’s Shelito Vincent says she boxes “for the therapeutic satisfaction that I’ve beaten life. I should have been dead six times over. I’ve been through so much hardship in my youth that I could write a book that would make the pages and the ink cry.”
Though her childhood and early adulthood were harrowing, “I still pulled through and chased my dream….It’s never too late—so never lose faith.”
A second reason is “for the kids—to show them there is hope, to show them their dreams can happen as long as you work your hardest and don’t give up. Dedication is key.” Still another is “for love, for my mother, for my city, for my family—but most importantly for me. I was born to do this.”
Shelito, a professional prizefighter, is 33 years old, “which I hate to admit,” she says with a smile. She fights at 118-123 pounds and has a perfect 7-0 record. She’s the number one ranked bantamweight in the United States, eighth in the world, and 11th in the Women’s International Boxing Association. “I was also a 2011 National Golden Gloves Champion as an amateur,” she adds.
Her biggest challenge as a professional has been “the transition from amateur to pro, and also getting sponsors. So here I’d like to thank Goldy’s in New London, BMW of Warwick, RI, the great Adian Vega for keeping my head so laced up come showtime, and Avant Gard Spa of Cumberland, Rhode Island.”
Evaluating her progress at this juncture in her career, Shelito says, “I’m signed with Jimmy Burchfield at Classic Entertainment & Sports, and my progress is phenomenal. I don’t think there’s a busier female fighter out there. Most females don’t move, but I’ve fought seven times since October 7, 2012. That’s unheard of. They take good care of me at CES.”
The Resident asked Shelito what she did during the day of a fight, during those cruel hours before round one. “I used to get stressed and nervous to the max,” she replies. “Now it’s just another day. I laugh with the crew. Then I warm up [until] it’s ready for war. I realize when I get in there, when I’m in the ring, we’re just dancing. Hands can’t hurt me.”
Fiercely proud of her Italian and Cape Verdean heritage, her success enables her to give back to the community. For example, she volunteers for the Special Olympics and visits “schools to talk to kids about building character and against bullying.” She helps out with children’s reading programs, has raised money for different cancer fundraisers (her mother passed away at age 37 from leukemia), and addressed New London’s Hope Week Conference on Effective Leadership.
In addition to being trained by Peter Manfredo, Sr., Shelito’s team consists of Mary Del Pino Morgan, Steve Maze, Marcia Agripino, Noemi Bosques, and Ricky Pierce. “It’s the best team out there. I’ve never been in such great shape in my life.” And as for who’s Shelito’s next opponent, she says “We’re lookin’ into a few right now.”