A Champion Returns to Her New York Roots
by Warren Rosenberg and Ryan Songalia - MetroSports Magazine May 8, 2022
Maureen Shea ended a two-plus year layoff Saturday, May 7th, outboxing Calista Silgado of Columbia to a unanimous decision victory at the Lou Carnesecca Arena at St. John’s University in Jamaica, N.Y. The scores were 79-73 on two cards and 77-75 on the third, all for Shea (30-2-1, 13 knockouts), who continues her push for a world title opportunity. Silgado (19-14-3, 14 KOs) had her moments early on, but it was Shea’s body punching and sublime defensive skills which made the difference.
This was Maureen’s, 33rd professional fight and part of a card featuring twelve boxers with New York City roots. With a professional record that now stands at 30 wins against only 2 losses, with 13 wins coming by way of knockout, it seems as if the former IFBA Super Bantamweight Champion and Interim WBC Female Featherweight Champion has not lost her talents after more than a two-year, pandemic-related layoff.
“It has been a long 2.5 years since I last fought and an even longer 12 years since I boxed back in NYC” says Shea, alternatively known as “The Bronx Bombshell” and “The Real Million Dollar Baby”. Born and raised in the Bronx, “The Bronx Bombshell” was a given. “The Real Million Dollar Baby” stems from Maureen’s time at Gleason’s Famous Gym where she was chosen to work as actress Hilary Swank’s sparring partner in preparation for her Academy Award winning performance as a boxer in the Clint Eastwood film, Million Dollar Baby.
Shea says she wants a world title opportunity after being unjustly denied one last year by the WBA, despite being the no. 2 ranked contender for the vacant bantamweight title. “These other girls can’t deny me, the sanctioning bodies can’t deny me. The public is gonna want to see me. Who doesn’t want to see that style and that kind of fight? It would be doing the fans a big disservice. I deserve a title,”
Living and working now in Boynton Beach, Florida and training out of Boca Raton, Shea has been busy promoting ‘One With Life Tequila’, a company in which she owns an equity stake along with boxing colleagues Larry Holmes, Ray Mancini, and Teofimo Lopez. She also serves as executive assistant to Phil Dauru at Daru Strong Performance Center.
While fifteen of her fights have been in New York State, making her professional debut in 2005 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, splitting two fights in the famed Madison Square Garden, and wins at the Grand Ballroom and at Cipriani in Manhattan, the Paradise Theater in the Bronx, the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls, the Yonkers P.A.L., Iona College in New Rochelle and the Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs, this was her first professional bout on Long Island and in the borough of Queens.
Summing up her win, Maureen states that, “I can’t begin to express the gratitude, joy and love I feel right now! All glory to God! First to my coaches Derik Santos and Phil Daur for always believing in me, trusting me and preparing me 1000% ! My teams DSboxing and Daru Strong Performance Center for stepping in when needed and making sure I stay focused and ready!! My best friend and Diet coach Melissa DeWeese for making my cuts easy and always keeping me sane during this process. My manager Luigi Olcese for keeping the vision and making things happen! @thehhdiva for always making me look fly with my ring attire braiding my hair and supporting me on my quest to another World Title! Rival Boxing Gear for protecting my hands every time I fight ! My sponsors Vaughn Sports Academy and Optimiize for your belief and support in me ! And of course My Fans !! For always coming out to support me and joining me on this amazing journey God has me on!! Your love and support means more then I can ever express ! I love you all! Thank you Ryan Christopher Songalia for rejoining team Shea on this quest and Star Boxing, Inc. and Joe DeGuardia for always putting on a great show and treating me like a Queen.”
Among the many Shea supporters in attendance was undisputed womens' super middleweight champion Franchón Crews-Dezurn, who had designed Shea's ring attire for the fight. Crews-Dezurn says she believes Shea has all the tools and dedication to become a world champion again. "Maureen is such an intricate part of women's boxing. She's broken a lot of barriers and she's put in a lot of time," said Crews-Dezurn. "She's just an amazing boxer and I'm honored I got to work with her." Shea says she hopes to be back in the ring again within three months.