Maureen Shea made her pro debut at the Westchester County Center in New York last Friday night. Even though she came all the way from Ohio, Camille Casson, 0-4-0, did not really look like she wanted to be in the ring with the flashy Shea, who came out in her signature Irish flag trunk skirt with the crowd cheering. Casson’s tentative fears came true when Shea knocked her out 39 seconds after the first bell. The tentative Casson didn’t show any signs of possible survival as the powerful Shea over-whelmed her with a barrage of punches.
“My game plan was to make her feel the punches, not to score points,” said Shea. “And to beat her to the punch. I heard she comes out with the jab so I was looking for that.”
Casson did come out with a passive jab that she didn’t commit to, and did not really land anything on her slightly bigger opponent as Shea dropped explosive punches to the head and body, her body hooks seeming so do the most damage.
After a final left hook, uppercut, right hand combination both the referee and Casson had had enough, and Shea had a lot to celebrate.
Shea, making her pro debut at 128 lbs., is still fresh from the amateurs where she was the key sparring partner to Hillary Swank for the movie “Million Dollar Baby.” An interesting combination of boxer and brawler and an even more interesting combination of Irish and Mexican, the tough fighter said she loves every aspect of fighting as a professional versus as an amateur.
“When you hit the person with smaller gloves and no headgear, you really feel it connect,” said Shea. “And with no headgear you can see everything. It is so much better.”
Shea, who has received a lot of press attention after word got out that she was Swank’s sparring partner, says she never really asked for the attention. She admitted that it put pressure on her that most amateurs do not experience.
Shea, who lost in the Daily News Golden Gloves Finals last April to Ronica Jeffrey in a brutal battle, has tried to learn from the experience and apply it to her success in the pros.
“I walked away from that Gloves loss with more than if I had won,” said Shea. “It taught me a valuable lesson for the pros. Never let the press get to you.”
Thought Shea admits she is grateful for the media attention, which has made it easier for her as a pro to sell tickets.
“People want to see me, thanks to the exposure,” said Shea.
According to Shea training for her is very personal and solo, even though much of her success has to do with her trainer Hector Roca. She accompanied Hector to a training camp for three weeks before her fight where she working alongside some of New York’s finest fighters including Dmitriy “Star of David” Salita, Edgar Santana, and Jorge Teron, who won the Gloves this year.
“My future plans include a fight every month,” said Shea. “And then eventually a world title.”
As for Camille Casson, it is likely that we will see more of her, for her past seems proof that she is the type of person to not give up. Not only does she keep trying after losing four consecutive bouts, but she also has beaten both colon and lung cancer. She is thirty one years old and also has experience as an amateur