Standing at six-six and physically superior to all her competition,
Vonda Ward is on a mission.
Winning the IBA (International Boxing Association) Heavyweight Title in July of 2002 is just one of Wards professional, athletic accomplishments.
At the age of five Ward began her athletic career playing T-ball. By the time she was in third grade she was dominating the court and field playing soccer basketball, softball, and volleyball.
As Ward entered her freshman year at Trinity High School she made the varsity team for soccer and basketball and jr. varsity of softball.
Player of the year
In her senior year Ward was highly regarded as a top ranked player in the state, a two-time winner of Ohios Ms. Basketball award. She was also crowned Player of the Year Parade magazine and named the All-American in USA Today.
#1 Recruit in the country
Before Wards senior year came to an end she was sought after by the best colleges in the country, including Stanford, Purdue, Connecticut, Ohio State, and Tennessee. Ward chose to play for the top-ranked University of Tennessee - Lady Volunteers.
The transition to college basketball was challenging. Ward quickly realized she had to dig deeper and work harder. Under the guidance of coach Pat Summit, Ward was taught all about intensity and the desire to succeed. Making it to the Final Four in 1995, Ward played her strongest game.
Long way from home
In late 1995 Ward signed a contract to play professional basketball in Aschaffenburg, Germany. With no professional organization here in the states, it was Wards only chance to continue her basketball career.
In 1996 The American Basketball League was formed and Ward headed to Atlanta for tryouts, as one of the 850 players competing for 80 open positions. Ward made the cut and was drafted by the Colorado Xplosions.
Tower of Power
Skilled, aggressive and physically fit, Ward was making her way to the top, a dream come true. Ward achieved her childhood dream to become a role model for young female athletes.
Agony of defeat
Ward broke her shin in practice, ending her career with the Xplosions, but not as a professional athlete.
Stronger, more powerful and intensely focused, Ward began her recovery and come back by lifting weights and hitting the heavy bag. It wasnt long before her talents were noticed by veteran trainer Lorenzo Scott.
The All American Girl
Adorned in red, white and blue, Ward took to the ring. If her hard
punches didnt catch your attention, her defined-sculpted body did.
History in the making
Wards first and only amateur fight was a Tough Woman contest, which she won in 1999. In the first round Ward knocked her opponent down not once, but three times.
In January of 2000 Ward had her pro card and was on her way to the top. Invincible, lean and determined to prove that WOMEN ARE ATHLETIC AND TRUE COMPETITORS OF ANY SPORT.
Heavy Weight Champion of the world
In July 2002 Ward captured the first IBA Heavy Weight title to be given to a women, by defeating Monica McGown in a 10 round bout.
Ward is on a mission to capture two additional titles:
IBA Cruiser Weight Title and IBA Light Heavy Weight Title
Mentor and true inspiration
Ward is a certified personal trainer working out of Kings Gym in Bedford Heights, OH. After training 6 hours a day, Ward shares her passion and knowledge with young aspiring athletes to help them realize their true potential. In addition, she also helps people from all walks of life learn how to live a healthy life. When she isnt in the ring, gym or on the court, Ward is donating her time to collect Toys for Tots or providing clothing for The Cleveland Womens shelter and participating in various charity functions.
In the public eye
Ward mostly recently graced the cover of the Cleveland Magazine (January 2003) as one of the most interesting people in Cleveland. She has also been featured in USA Today, as player of the year.
Ward is no stranger to the local media. The Cleveland Plain Dealer regularly features Ward and her accomplishments. Local networks, such as WKYC 3, 5, and Fox seek Ward to help promote sports, as well as health and fitness. The number one radio show in Cleveland, Lanagin and Malone have welcomed Ward for early morning conversations.
On December 6, 2002 Ward defended her IBA Heavyweight title by knocking out Cathy Rivers in the eight round. ESPN 2 was there to cover the bout live, nationwide.
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Ward has proven time and time again that she is an awesome athlete. Dedicated beyond belief. But we expect that from a professional athlete. What we dont see or hear often enough is how people like Vonda Ward spread their love and compassion for others. In our local community, we have seen Ward give her time freely to help anyone achieve their dreams. Ask her about Little Clay. Its a remarkable story.