LAPD officer making history as female boxer at Montebello charity event

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Deirdre Fonseca - known as "Sugar" Dre in the boxing ring - is preparing to make history Saturday.

The 31-year-old Los Angeles Police Department officer will become the first woman to headline a charity law enforcement boxing event in the U.S., when she fights a female officer from England at the "Undisputed" event in Montebello.

At five-feet two-inches and 128 pounds, Fonseca has come a long way.

"I was 204 pounds when I had my second baby," she recalled.

At that time, the single mom worked as an LAPD dispatcher, but said she wanted to show her two daughters, Demi, now 7 years old, and Violet, 8, that she could do more.

She looked to her dad Daniel, a former boxer, for inspiration to get in the ring.

"My dad had 17 amateur fights and 5 professional fights in the 1970s," said Fonseca. "That's part of my background, that's in my family tree."

She says she started working out five or six days a week.

"I would just work out, shower, take the girls to the sitter, go to work."

She won her first fight in 2014.

So far, she has five wins and one loss to her name.

And she's gained a following.

"When people learn of my involvement in our (LAPD) Department's boxing team, people come up to me and say oh my God do you know Dre Fonseca?" said LAPD Officer John Negrete, who also coaches boxing.

Fonseca's ambition also stretched outside the ring.

In 2015, she graduated from the police academy to become an LAPD officer.

"Oh my gosh it was the best day ever," recalled Fonseca. "I also got an award from the class for being the most inspirational. It's called the Tina Kerbrat award. She was the first female officer shot and killed in the line of duty so it was an honor to receive that."

Fonseca said on Saturday she will focus on her opponent, Officer Claire Hankinson with the West Midlands Police Department, which is the second largest police force in England.

Fonseca said Hankinson is five feet seven inches tall and is expected to weigh in about 10 pounds heavier than Fonseca, but they were the closest match for each other.

"Claire is very fit, very focused, very determined and she'll be on the front foot I think," said Chief Superintendent Mike O'Hara with the West Midlands Police Department, whose team of 22 boxers just arrived in L.A. "We're looking forward to a really good matchup."

It's the first time the LAPD boxing team will fight officers from England.

The charity boxing event will raise money to help families of officers injured in the line of duty.

But don't be fooled by the word "charity." Fonseca said it will be competitive.

"It's 'charity,' said Fonseca with a smile. "But people are really trying to knock your head off."

Fonseca is inspiring others with her determination.

"It did inspire me to know that someone else in my position was not only able to compete in the league but do very well in the league," said Kayle Sicairos, an LAPD dispatcher who started boxing a year ago.

As Fonseca gets in one last training session at the 818 Boxing Club in San Fernando, she said she hopes to inspire others with her determination.

"I'm very proud to say that I'm the first woman to be a headliner," she said. "I just want to give everyone a good show and not let anyone down. I'm excited."

The "Undisputed" charity boxing event takes place at Quiet Canyon, Montebello. Doors open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 20.
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