5'4" Maureen "Moe" Shea was born on January 11,
the Bronx, New York. Her Irish father is a (now-retired) NYPD detective
Mexican mother an airline worker.
When Shea began her
boxing career in the amateurs at age 19 with coach Luigi Olcese of New
Boxing Gym, she was looking to channel her energy away from
difficulties in her personal
"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,"
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
bronze medallist Naquana Smalls of Wisconsin.
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,
Iran Barkley, Hector Camacho and Alicia
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
"Million Dollar Baby". Shea was assigned to be Swank's sparring
an assignment that won her a measure of personal fame when Swank later
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
and she takes blood from Hilary's nose. And that way, the actress, she
On March 2, 2005 in a
preliminary bout in the NY Golden Gloves at the Copacabana
in Manhattan, Maureen won by a
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
her way back into the bout, earning a one-point lead at the halfway
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
being someone else's sparring partner!". Shea added "I
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".
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
Casson fell to 0-5 with the loss.
2005 at the Venue in Greensboro, North Carolina, Shea (131¼ lbs)
TKO'd 19-year-old Katherine Applewhite (128 lbs) of Saratoga,
Carolina at 0:43 in the first round of a scheduled
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.
February 10, 2006 at the Hynes Athletic Centre on the campus of Iona
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,
to a TKO at 1:33 in the third round of scheduled six-rounder.
whose nose was bloodied in the opening round fell to 0-3-1. For this
Shea fought in an Iona College cheerleader skirt given to her by the
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
On May 20,
2006 at in New York City, Shea
lost a six-round split decision to Kim
Colbert (5'3", 130 lbs) of Southfield, MI. Colbert knocked Shea down in
second round on the way to dropping her to 5-1-0 (3 KOs). Colbert
to a deceptive 3-10-1 (2 KOs), some of her losses having come to such
high-rated fighters as Jeannine
Kara Ro and
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
to WBAN correspondent David Pambianchi, "With
determination and courage, both fighters boxed a continuous action
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
rounds. But while “Hurricane” Heron continued to fight well, Maureen
unleashed lightning and thunder of her own to her opponent’s head and
often in a rain of flurries during the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds,
won Shea a unanimous decision."
to WBAN that "From
the sound of the first bell there appeared to be a new found focus in
entire demeanor. Shea established her jab and picked her shots well.
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
for her opponents bait by brawling. Shea was able to get the better of
toe to toe exchanges due to her speed. In round three Shea returned to
jab and scored well, Heron did her best to taunt Shea with laughter as
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
Heron. More of the same action would follow in round five. Round six
most exciting because this fight could have been fought in a phone
was non-stop action from the beginning of the final round to the end. A
close round." For more photos of this bout, see
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)
over Tammy Franks (130½ lbs) of San Antonio. Maureen improved her pro
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
Mexico at 0:57 n the third round of a scheduled six-rounder.
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
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
house, chanting, shouting, beer, flags, whistles, cheers to the song of
Irish Rover, and likely saying goodbye to their voices for the
the weekend." according to WBAN correspondent David
who added "The first round both fighters felt each other out,
hits, but Maureen scored solidly to Eva’s head and body. Through most
second round Maureen continued to soften her opponent, and then turned
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
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
blows to Eva’s face and combinations to her ribs, Maureen chalked up
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
(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
than she expected," Shea told reporters, "the body
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
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
On August 1, 2009 at Mohegan
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.
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).
July 30, 2010 at the City Center in Saratoga Springs, New
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.
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
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
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
was so strict with me. I'm very proud of my roots. I'm very proud of
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
To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with
huge digital photos you can go to
the WBAN Records
Saturday, 17 August 2013