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Maureen Shea
 
   

5'4" Maureen "Moe" Shea was born on January 11, 1981 in the Bronx, New York. Her Irish father is a (now-retired) NYPD detective and her Mexican mother an airline worker.

When Shea began her boxing career in the amateurs at age 19 with coach Luigi Olcese of New York Boxing Gym, she was looking to channel her energy away from difficulties in her personal life. "I was very aggressive: I marched to a different drum, and there were a lot of negative things going on in my life. Boxing helped get me out of it. This sport has literally saved my life. I don't know where I'd be right now if it wasn't for it. It builds confidence and in the ring you have only yourself to rely on," she says.

At the 2002 national Women's Golden Gloves held on August 21-24 in Chicago, Illinois, Maureen lost her preliminary bout in the 132-lb division to eventual bronze medallist Naquana Smalls of Wisconsin.

After Maureen had trouble getting fights and getting wins, Luigi Olcese introduced her to Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, to work with Hector Roca. Roca has trained such world champions as Arturo Gatti, Buddy McGirt, Iran Barkley, Hector Camacho and Alicia Ashley.

In January 2004 actress Hilary Swank came to Gleason's looking to train with Roca in preparation for playing the lead role in Clint Eastwood women's boxing movie "Million Dollar Baby". Shea was assigned to be Swank's sparring partner, an assignment that won her a measure of personal fame when Swank later took home an Oscar for her part in the movie. The two women bonded while trading leather in the ring. "Hilary stood up well to Maureen," said Roca. "She's a good client and a brave lady. When we got her fighting, she took blood from Maureen's nose. But then she says 'Sorry', and I stop the fight. And I tell her that you never say sorry to anyone. So then I tell Maureen, 'Hit her!' and Maureen does, and she takes blood from Hilary's nose. And that way, the actress, she learns real boxing."

On March 2, 2005 in a preliminary bout in the NY Golden Gloves at the Copacabana in Manhattan, Maureen won by a decision over Sophia Gegovic of Tiger Schulmann. Hollywood-style magic did not affect Shea's bout in the tournament final at the Theater in Madison Square Garden that April, however ... her opponent Ronica Jeffrey controlled the fight from the opening bell and won handily. Between rounds, Hilary Swank went to Shea's corner to encourage her former sparring partner during the bout, but there was no "happy ending" for Shea ... Jeffrey won the championship by an emphatic 5-0 margin.

At the U.S. championships at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado in March 2005, Maureen lost a 16-14 decision to Jennifer Barber of Northridge. California.  She jumped out to the lead with a strong first round but Barber began to work her way back into the bout, earning a one-point lead at the halfway point that she was able to maintain through the last two rounds

Although her connection with Swank and "Million Dollar Baby" has helped Maureen Shea to get publicity as a boxer she is clear about its meaning: "I work much too hard to be best known for being someone else's sparring partner!". Shea added "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Hilary as an actress, a person, and an athlete, but right now I need to concentrate on my career".

Maureen made her pro debut on August 26, 2005 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York. She weighed in at 126 lbs and TKO'd Camille Casson (5'4", 124 lbs) of Covington, Kentucky at 0:39 into the opening round. Casson fell to 0-5 with the loss.

On September 17, 2005 at the Venue in Greensboro, North Carolina, Shea (131¼ lbs) TKO'd 19-year-old Katherine Applewhite (128 lbs) of Saratoga, North Carolina at 0:43 in the first round of a scheduled four-rounder. 

On October 8, 2005 at the Venue in Greensboro, North Carolina, Maureen (134 lbs) won a unanimous (40-36) four round decision over Darnella Barnes (134 lbs). Shea was originally scheduled to box pro debuter Barnes on September 17 but Barnes came in much too heavy. In the delayed bout, Barnes came to fight and showed tremendous strength and determination but Shea dominated all the rounds with an onslaught of punches.  The card was promoted by former pro boxer Cheryl Nance.

On February 10, 2006 at the Hynes Athletic Centre on the campus of Iona College in New Rochelle, New York (where she has been an English major since 2002 ). Maureen (131 lbs) pounded Sarina Mae Hayden (5'4", 131 lbs) of Denver, Colorado to a TKO at 1:33 in the third round of  scheduled six-rounder. Hayden, whose nose was bloodied in the opening round fell to 0-3-1. For this occasion, Shea fought in an Iona College cheerleader skirt given to her by the college squad.

On March 16, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Maureen used a ferocious body attack to pound out a convincing (40-36 on all three cards) four-round unanimous decision over  LeAnne Villareal of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Villareal fell to 1-6-1 with this loss while Shea improved her pro record to 5-0 (3 KO's).

On May 20, 2006 at in New York City, Shea (129 lbs) lost a six-round split decision to Kim Colbert (5'3", 130 lbs) of Southfield, MI. Colbert knocked Shea down in the second round on the way to dropping her to 5-1-0 (3 KOs). Colbert improved to a deceptive 3-10-1 (2 KOs), some of her losses having come to such high-rated fighters as  Jeannine Garside, Kelsey Jeffries, Chevelle Hallback, Kara Ro and Melissa Fiorentino.

On July 20, 2006 at Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom, in New York, New York, Maureen (128 lbs) won a six-round (59-55,60-54,60-54) unanimous decision over Olga Heron (126 lbs) of Canada. According to WBAN correspondent David Pambianchi, "With determination and courage, both fighters boxed a continuous action packed bout, a riveting display of skill, speed and power. Truly a storm, the boxers parried, dodged and exchanged blows. Canadian, Olga “Hurricane” Heron, held her ground as Maureen “Moe” Shea pressed for the first three rounds. But while “Hurricane” Heron continued to fight well, Maureen unleashed lightning and thunder of her own to her opponent’s head and body often in a rain of flurries during the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, that won Shea a unanimous decision." 

Ralph Rimpell reported to WBAN that "From the sound of the first bell there appeared to be a new found focus in Shea’s entire demeanor. Shea established her jab and picked her shots well. Heron unable to deal with Shea’s speed did her best to engage in toe to toe action. By the second round it seemed that Shea, like last time, would fall for her opponents bait by brawling. Shea was able to get the better of the toe to toe exchanges due to her speed. In round three Shea returned to her jab and scored well, Heron did her best to taunt Shea with laughter as if to show her jab was not hurting her. Shea appeared to win the third round easily. By the fourth round, she again did more brawling then boxing with Heron. More of the same action would follow in round five. Round six was the most exciting because this fight could have been fought in a phone booth. It was non-stop action from the beginning of the final round to the end. A very close round." For more photos of this bout, see WBAN Photo Gallery #376. 

On November 10, 2006 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas,
Maureen (131 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (59-55,60-54,60-54) decision over Tammy Franks (130½ lbs) of San Antonio. Maureen improved her pro record to  7-0 (3 KO's) while Franks fell to 1-2 (0 KO's).

On December 14, 2006 at the Grand Ballroom in New York, Maureen (127½ lbs) TKO'd Rocio Vazquez (5'0", 126½ lbs) of Ciudad Acuña, Mexico at 0:57 n the third round of a scheduled six-rounder.  Vazquez fell to 6-5 (1 KO's) with the loss.

On January 25, 2007 at the Paradise Theatre in the Bronx, New York, Maureen((127½ lbs) won a six-round unanimous decision over Elizabeth Villarreal (5'7", 126 lbs) of San Antonio, Texas. Shea improved to 9-0 (4 KO's) while Villarreal dropped to 2-2-1 (0 KO's).

On March 16, 2007 at Madison Square Garden, New York
Maureen (134 lbs) won a TKO at 1:06 in the third round over Eva Lidia Silva (140 lbs) of Mexico in a scheduled six-rounder.  The house was packed for an Irish Fight Card with "every lad and lass in New York seemed packed into the house, chanting, shouting, beer, flags, whistles, cheers to the song of the Irish Rover, and likely saying goodbye to their voices for the remainder of the weekend."  according to WBAN correspondent David Pambianchi, who added "The first round both fighters felt each other out, getting in hits, but Maureen scored solidly to Eva’s head and body. Through most of the second round Maureen continued to soften her opponent, and then turned on the fire near the finish with lefts and rights appearing from nowhere, catching Eva at will. The next round started like the end of the second, and while Eva bravely attempted to defend herself, Maureen let loose with a fury, picking her shots as the punches pressed Eva to the ropes. Too many blows to Eva’s face and combinations to her ribs, Maureen chalked up another TKO."  Shea improved to
10-0-0 (5 KOs) while Silva fell to 4-7-0 (0 KOs).


Maureen Shea vs Olivia Gerula in Reno, NV
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On July 6, 2007 in front of 1,500 fans in an outdoor parking lot at the Eldorado Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada,. Maureen (126 lbs) won a convincing six-round unanimous (60-54,60-54,59-55) decision over Olivia Gerula (128 lbs) of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Shea took control of the bout with a strong body attack in the first three rounds. "She said to me after the fight that I was a lot better than she expected," Shea told reporters, "the body shots were definitely working. I feel like I could've done a little better. Fighting outdoors for the first time, I'd probably give myself a 9½." Gerula fell to 7-9-2 (2 KO's) with the loss. (For more photos of the fight by Mary Ann Owen, see WBAN Photo Gallery #435 on the WBAN Records Member Site).

On September 5, 2007 at Cipriani, on Wall Street, in New York City, Maureen won by TKO at 1:42  in the second round over Jessica Mohs of Phoenix, Arizona.  The bout was scheduled for six rounds on the undercard. The loss dropped the 35-year-old Mohs to 7-16-1 (2 KO's).

On September 10, 2008 at the PAL Gym in Yonkers, New York, Maureen Shea returned to the ring after a twelve month hiatus to TKO a badly overmatched El Shaddai [Ellsha] Cleffman (146 lbs) of North Platte, Nebraska at 1:57 of the first round of a scheduled six rounder.  Cleffman fell to 3-2 (3 KO's) with the loss.

On February 21, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Peruvian-born Kina Malpartida, now based in La Habra, California,  TKO'd Maureen at 1:35 in the tenth round of a scheduled ten-rounder for won the vacant WBA Junior Lightweight title. Malpartida caught Shea with a straight right to the head, sending her sprawling face down on the canvas. Shea got back to her feet after a six count, but after referee Eddie Cotton judged that she was unsteady on her feet and stopped the fight. Shea, a slow but hard hitter with precise punches, had started fast, scoring a flash knockdown in the first round, catching Malpartida backing up with a picture perfect left hook. Malpartida did not appear gurt and was back on her feet quickly but kept her right hand high against her head throughout the fight to guard against a repeat shot from Shea, After a defensive second round, Malpartida's confidence grew as the fight progressed and used her height and reach advabtage to try to keep the  fight in the mid-ring and counter-punch while the ever-aggressive Shea pursued her. Shea went to the canvas midway through the tenth but it was ruled a slip. Malpartida then scored with several big punches before landing the right that ended the bout. (Malpartida was ahead on all three scorecards going into the final round, 87-83,87-83 and 88-81).  Malpartida improved her record to 9-3 (2 KO's) with the win while Shea fell to 13-1-0 (7 KO's.

On August 1, 2009 at Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA, Maureen Shea (126¼ lbs) was TKO'd at 1:52 of the seventh round by Lindsay Garbatt (128 lbs) of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada in a scheduled eight rounder.  As reported by Joseph Davey of 15rounds.com, "From the onset, Garbatt was simply the stronger, busier fighter. Her offense was centered heavily on a crisp right hand which regularly found the chin of Shea. Shea, over the course of several rounds, tried to implement a two fisted body attack but simply wasn’t strong enough to keep Garbatt off. By round 5, Shea’s face was swollen and red from numerous right hand and left hooks; the latter of which Garbatt had begun to use as a follow up to the right hand. The end came ... when Shea, exhausted and pinned to the ropes, ate a left hook followed by a thudding right hand. Stunned, Shea began to drop and ate a right hand from Garbatt on the way down. There was no need for a count as Shea was clearly out and the bout was halted at 1:52." Garbatt improved to 3-2 (3 KO's).

As of May 2010, Shea is working with head trainer Pedro Saiz of Brooklyn, a former world title challenger who has worked with world champions Joan Guzman and Yuri Foreman, as well as co-trainer Aroz "Terrific" Gist. Shea has relocated from the Hackensack PAL to the brand new Global Boxing Gym in North Bergen, NJ.

On May 14, 2010 at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx, Maureen (130 lbs) overwhelmed an overmatched Norma Faris (129½ lbs) of Puerto Rico who put up little resistance on the way to a THO at the end of the third round of a scheduled four-rounder. Shea delivered a sustained body attack that the defensive-minded Faris could not handle as she improved her record to 14-2 (8 KO's).  Faris fell to 3-3 (0 KO's).

On July 30, 2010 at the City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York,  Maureen (125 lbs) TKO'd Liliana Martinez (5'3",121 lbs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic at 1:15 in in the third round of a scheduled six for the vacant NABF Featherweight title.  Martinez fell to 8-11 (4 KO's) with the loss.

On October 8, 2011 at the Auditorium of Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico, Maureen (137¾ lbs) TKO'd pro debuter Yara Cabanas (136¾ lbs) of Mexico in the second round of a scheduled six.  

On October 29, 2011 at Palenque de la Feria in Colima, Mexico, Maureen Shea TKO'd pro debuter Silvia Ramirez of Mexico at 1:50 in the fifth round of a scheduled six-rounder.

Maureen SHea vs Diana Ayala, Dec 2011
Maureen Shea vs Diana Ayala in December 2011
© copyrighted photo courtesy HG Boxing

On December 10, 2011 at Estadio Centenario in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Maureen Shea (126 lbs) won a ten-round majority (99-91, 95-95,96-94) decision over Diana Ayala (126 lbs) of San Pelayo, Colombia for the WBC featherweight title.  Shea improved to 18-2 (11 KO's) while Ayala fell to 11-6-1 (6 KO's). 

Shea says: "My father's a very proud man, and a man of stature. He has a presence in a room, so I always felt like I had to stand at attention because he was so strict with me. I'm very proud of my roots. I'm very proud of being Mexican and I'm very proud of being Irish. My future plans include a fight every month. And then the world title."

She is studying for an English degree and is contemplating a career in broadcasting.

Other Maureen Shea links

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Page last updated: Saturday, 17 August 2013

 
     
     
     
     
 

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