In the middle of Manhattan female prizefighting takes center stage when New York City’s Maureen Shea tangles with ninja Jenna Shiver in a 10 round main event.
“When I was a kid all I wanted to be was a ninja or an FBI agent,” says Shiver who trains in Tampa. “Still would like to be a ninja.”
Shiver fights for the first time in New York City against its own popular Shea for the vacant WBA interim junior featherweight title on Thursday, Dec. 3. The bout takes place in the Manhattan Center. It will be televised nationally on Versus.
There’s a lot of room for a ninja in New York. But Shea’s got experience with all kinds of styles.
Shea recently convinced prominent trainer Tommy Brooks to work with her, after suffering a pair of losses. Those were the first losses on her ledger.
“When he first met me he said I should be fighting at 122,” said Shea (13-2, 7 KOs) who was competing at 130. “I’m really happy fighting at 122, it’s not even an issue.”
It’s a second title attempt for the Mexican-Irish fighter from the Bronx. Her first try ended in a loss to Peru’s Kina Malpartida and that was followed by another loss to Lindsay Garbatt. Both of those fighters were relatively unknown at the time, but now the world knows they’re very good.
So is Shea.
“I’ve always known about Maureen Shea,” said Shiver (9-4-1) who has been fighting for several years professionally in Florida. “I got a call to fight her years ago that we turned down mainly on the account of how all over the place I was at the time.”
Timing is everything.
“She’s taller than me and comes out throwing a lot of straight punches,” Shea, 28, says of Shiver. “We're looking to use our fight plan and I did my research with her. With the team I have now I feel I’m coming into the fight more prepared than ever before.”
Brooks, Shea’s trainer, had never worked with a female fighter before. In the past he’s trained Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes and scores of other excellent prizefighters. He’s now based in New Jersey and that is now where Shea travels daily to prepare for this fight.
“Believe it or not it’s a lot closer to the Bronx. It’s only 20 minutes from the gym. It’s easy to get there,” said Shea. “My whole career I always traveled to Brooklyn. I used to take the subway to Brooklyn, now I’m driving to New Jersey.”
When Shiver steps on Manhattan turf it will be only the second time. But the prizefighter from Florida has three generation of fighting bloodlines to fall back on. Her grandfather was a pro wrestler and her father a pro boxer.
“I love the sport on account of the challenges as an individual it brings to me, so much discipline in every area and ways to improve,” Shiver, 24, says. “It’s really a sweet science and it fascinates me.”
After 10 rounds on Thursday either Shea or Shiver will emerge as the new interim champion.
“It’s still very mind blowing to me that I will be fighting for a title out of the Big Apple, on TV no less,” said Shiver who is trained by Ron Coronangan. “Cannot wait for Dec. 3.”
Shea, whose mother is from Mexico City and father is from New York City, is willing to fly to California to work with conditioning coach Robert Ferguson. Whatever it takes she’s willing to do. Now after several months of training can she drive her way to a world title?
“I just want to show that those last two fights wasn’t really me,” says Shea. “I was putting too much stress on myself.”
Shea or Shiver, who will grab that title?
Right now the junior featherweight division is enjoying one of its best years with a flood of talent all over the world like IBA titleholder Ana Julaton, Kelsey Jeffries, Argentina’s Marcela Acuna, Mexico’s Jackie Nava, and bantamweights Melinda Cooper and Kaliesha West who can jump up a division at a moment’s notice.
“My goal in boxing is to really excel and build on every bit of skill I already possess to be the champ of course. Why else compete?” says Shiver.
If you’re in the New York City area get your tickets now by calling (718) 823-2000.
Also on the card is Mike Arnaoutis facing Tim Coleman for the vacant USBA junior welterweight title and undefeated welterweight Ray Robinson against undefeated Brad Soloman.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?