Maureen Shea finally made her ring return to the ring this past Saturday night.

Now she hopes her next fight is a long-awaited world title shot.

Shea defeated Grecia Novas Mateo by unanimous decision in a stay-busy at the Coco Locos Restaurant Sports Bar in Sosua in the Dominican Republic. Scores were 80-71, 80-71, and 79-72 for Shea, who improved to 31-2-1, 13 knockouts.

The 42-year-old Shea, who is originally from The Bronx, New York and now resides in Delray Beach, Florida, was the superior fighter of the two. Shea outboxed Novas, who as the fight progressed, threw less punches. Rather than exchange with Shea, Novas began to grapple and hold as Shea initiated combinations.

Shea became more frustrated during the second half of the fight. After repeated holding during the fight, a point was finally deducted from Novas in the seventh round. 

During the final two rounds, Shea was the aggressor, attempting to score a knockdown, but Novas had her utilized savviness to avoid getting hit flush or grabbed onto Shea in an attempt to survive.

“(It was a) very frustrating fight,” Shea told BoxingScene Sunday. “(My) opponent held the whole time. I didn’t feel I was able to truly display my skills because of the holding. She was clearly in survival mode. I would have gotten the stoppage had she actually fought.

“Glad I got eight rounds in. I felt great after being out for over a year. (I) felt zero ring rust. Now I want the ‘champions’ at 122 (pounds).”

Shea had fought on May 7 of last year, defeating Colombia’s Calista Salgado by unanimous decision. Her previous fight was in January 2020, stopping Martina Horgasz. 

Back in April, Shea was rated No. 2 by the IBF at 122 pounds. Shea thought she was following through on a fight against then-No. 1 ranked contender Ellie Scotney earlier this year in an IBF interim world title fight, but was disappointed in the IBF mandating Cherneka Johnson to defend her title against Scotney.

Johnson would lose her belt to Scotney by unanimous decision on June 10. 

Shea, who is managed by Luigi Olcese, is currently not ranked by the IBF.

Novas, who resides in nearby San Juan de la Maguana, falls to 18-30-4, 9 KOs. She stopped overmatched Maritza Alcantara in her previous fight on May 7. On February 10, Novas was stopped by unbeaten Tiara Brown in the third round. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing