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Vanessa Greco,  is a native of Brooklyn, New York,  and started Kickboxing in 1998,  as a form of self-defense and fitness. She began her training under former Kickboxing Champion and now Promoter Luis Neglia. But with the commute to Long Island and holding down a job as a hair stylist in Manhattan,  she began looking for training closer to her job and residence.

Then one day she walked into the Universal Martial Arts Academy to check out their Martial Arts program. It was there that she met Lee Shabaka, the Head Coach of the Team Freeform Women's Boxing Club, who at the time taught Kickboxing at UMA. She tried his Kickboxing program and liked it.  

She eventually began doing some recreational sparring and her Coach noticed something about her in the ring. That something was that she wanted to knockout anyone he put in front of her. He suggested she take her recreational sparring to the next level---that of competition. After a few kickboxing bouts and exhibitions she began to show signs of developing into a good fighter. She was becoming a Puncher/Brawler type and loved the idea of going forward, getting on the inside and wearing down her opponent.

Greco told WBAN, “I didn't think too much of boxing in the beginning and when I did watch it, I only watched MikeTyson. His style of fighting appealed to me.”

During that time Lee Shabaka was in the process of putting together a Women's Boxing Team. Vanessa and some sparring partners from her kickboxing program attended the New York Golden Gloves finals held at Madison Square Garden to cheer on their female boxing comrades.

When she walked into the Garden she saw thousands of people gathered to witness the best that New York had to offer. It was then that she started to look at boxing a little differently.  “I liked the whole idea of the Golden Gloves and competing in great venues like the Garden. Up to that point, I hadn't seen anything like that in Kickboxing.”, said Greco.

Then there was the thought of fighting in the same tradition that the greats fought in like Ali, Robinson and Tyson. The whole idea about fighting in the New York Golden Gloves started to appealed to Greco.

Then one day she was called in by her Coach to give the female boxers on the team some sparring because of her forward and aggressive style. Although she had only been competing in kickboxing for a year, she gave some of the more advanced girls about as much as they could handle.   Then an opening occurred on the team where there was a slot for a 112-pound boxer----Vanessa quickly filled the bill.  

In her first bout she fought using the aggressive style she developed in Kickboxing by pressing forward and dropping bombs on her opponent, thus taking the win. In her second fight she got a wake-up call. Although the fight was very close, she lost to a more experienced and technical boxer.

Greco said, “I learned then and there that you can't go in and bang out everyone.” When she reviewed the tape she saw that she lost on jabs and went back to the drawing board to develop that punch. In the process of developing her jab she noticed that it made her sparring a lot easier and more effective. Within a few months she and her trainer started to reinvent her fighting style. She began to appreciate the more scientific elements of boxing and became an advent student of the game. Greco was now on the path to becoming a complete boxer with the ability to box on the outside as well as on the inside.

In 2002, in only her third fight she signed up for the New York Golden Gloves. It may have seemed like a premature move to some but at that point Vanessa had balanced the playing field by training and sparring with some of the best girls in the Nation via Team Freeform.

Greco said, “When one trains side by side with some of the Nations best Amateur Boxers of that time like Deborah Stein, Joy Liu and Yvonne Bridges, it can help a beginner tremendously when getting ready to take on more advanced competition.”

 In 2002, her first New York Golden Gloves, she lost a very close decision to Tyron Walton. These two fought a very exciting and highly charged bout; they fought tooth and nail and threw punches from beginning to end.  

The following year 2003, she lost a very controversial decision to former sparring partner Eileen Olszewski. In almost an act of defiance she flew out to Chicago two months later and won the 2003 National Golden Gloves by beating Nationally ranked number #2 Karen Davis in the process.  


Greco fighting at Madison Square Garden

At the end of 2003 she was ranked number one in the country by USA Boxing. By 2004, she had developed into very polished amateur boxer and snatched her first win at the New York Golden Gloves. She then won the 2004 and 2005 New York Golden Gloves, putting her in that class of New York's elite fighters. During those years she did her share of National competitions but only used them as experience gainers.  

Greco said, “It's ridiculous how much politics goes on at that level. It's like if you don't knock out a favorite then just chalk your bout up as an experience. I'm not hating or complaining because it's those controversial bouts that made me the fighter that I am today. Hey, I grew up in Brooklyn ... I'm used to adversity and confrontation. It's part of our environment, that's one reason why Brooklyn has produced so many Champions on the Pro and Amateur level and I'm happy to be part of that tradition.”
 
 In 2006, after winning her third New York Golden Gloves Championship, Vanessa took a long needed rest giving her body a break. She accomplished and experienced a lot in a short time.

Now she is ready to enter the Pro ranks. She plans to bring the same excitement and skills to the Pros that she brought to the amateur ranks. Her Coach Lee Shabaka says, “When you watch a Vanessa Greco fight----you can be assured that you’re gonna see brains, skills and guts. Not just another Boxer punching randomly looking for the win. She looks to entertain you and show you her craft ... She's that kind of boxer; she brings it all to the table! No matter who is in front of her. That you can be sure of.”

     
 
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